The organizers of this year’s Oscars don’t plan on trimming any of the speeches that will air on the telecast on Feb. 24. In an interview with Variety, Academy Awards producer Donna Gigliotti pushed back against the notion that the show would be condensing some of the remarks made onstage at the Dolby Theatre.
“If you stick within the 90 seconds, of course your entire speech is going to be on the air,” Gigliotti said, referencing a rule about the length of Oscars speeches.
The Academy Awards have come under fire this year for a decision to move the presentation of four of the categories — cinematography, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, and live action short — to commercial breaks, in order to keep the running time of the ABC broadcast at three hours.
The winners of these trophies will see their speeches air later in the broadcast. The time they spend hugging and kissing loved ones and climbing to the stage will be cut.
“I wish they’d all call me up and I’d show them how it was going to work,” Gigliotti said about criticism of the change, which was voted on last year by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. “When I took on this job, the Board of Governors had made this decision. And at that point in time, they had a proof of concept. Everybody is going on the air. I feel badly that people are so upset, because I think if they saw it, it would allay a lot of their concerns.”
Gigliotti reiterated how the process would work. “Honestly, the experience of going up on the stage will not feel any different to the people who are called up,” said Gigliotti, who won an Oscar for producing “Shakespeare in Love” in 1999. “There will be a film package. There will be clips. You’ll have 90 seconds: you’ll give your speech, you’ll have the Oscar in your hand. It will be a great moment. What happens in the edited version, you won’t really see the walk up to the stage. If they stick to the allotted time, of course nobody is going to edit their speech.”
There has been conflicting reports about how these clips would air. While Academy president John Bailey had said the speeches would be shown in their entirety, another source told Variety that the telecast’s director Glenn Weiss had the final say over possible edits. All four of the categories will be live-streamed online as they are announced.
Earlier this week, following public lobbying efforts by many directors and actors for the inclusion of all 24 categories on the live show, Academy officers issued a letter to its members.
“We’d like to assure you that no award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others,” the letter wrote. “Unfortunately, as the result of inaccurate reporting and social media posts, there has been a chain of misinformation that has understandably upset many Academy members.”
This year’s Oscars has been plagued by more controversy than usual. In December, Kevin Hart stepped down as host, after he refused to apologize for past homophobic tweets that were discovered on his Twitter account. As a result, the show will be the first host-less Oscars in 30 years.