On February 22, barely a month before the 94th annual Oscars, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences made a startling announcement. The winners for eight out of the 23 historic categories will not be aired on television on March 27. The categories cut from the live broadcast include the documentary short, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live-action short, and sound. These awards will be distributed before the broadcast begins.
The Academy did not give a formal reason to the public why they cut so many categories. Despite this, many speculate it has to do with the drop in viewers in recent years. The 93rd Oscars was met with only 9.85 million viewers, a record low for the award show. Many wonder if the Academy’s decision is an effort to make the show more engaging to their audience at home. The president of the Academy, David Rubin, expressed to his fellow Academy members the intent for this year’s ceremony to be “tighter and more electric.”
Unsurprisingly, the announcement was met with considerable backlash on social media. The hashtag #PresentAll23 was created to protest the decision, with people calling for the Academy to reverse their decision. Many believe it is unfair for the nominees of the cut categories not to receive their moment in the spotlight.
This decision by the Academy will likely end up doing them no favors. Despite the drop in viewers, many people look forward to the Oscars every year. Cutting eight of the core categories has alienated a large section of the audience, as shown by the #PresentAll23 hashtag. The decision has also given the Academy and the Oscars itself a considerable amount of bad press. The Oscars have been criticized in the past for not valuing smaller creators, such as editors, sound directors, and makeup artists, and this decision seemingly proves that speculation. It remains unknown how people will react to the 94th Oscars, but it seems like the writing is already on the wall.
Paris Murrow, Account Associate