In August last year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced that 4 out of the 24 categories of Oscar plaques presented live on the show will be presented to winners this year during commercial breaks. The change comes in as a result of the Academy’s attempt to reduce the viewing hours of the show to three hours, which they believe will help boost its viewership in numbers, per the recorded low rating last year. The affected categories include Cinematography, Film editing, live-action short and makeup and hairstyling.
According to the Academy’s president John Bailey, the new format will not in any way make the affected categories less important in honor than the remaining 20 categories. The winning speeches of all four will be aired later in the broadcast after the commercial break on ABC, where the show will broadcast live. Together with ABC, presentations for all four categories will stream live online for its global online streamers to also enjoy the show.
Bailey also disclosed that the selection of the four mentioned categories was arrived at a consensus when six out the 17 branches of the executive committee of the Academy volunteered their live broadcast presentation slot to make way for the new system of commercial break presentations from which 4 was chosen. Subsequent Oscar shows will have 4 to 6 different categories on a rotating basis for both the traditional way of presenting awards at the Oscars and newly adapted system so as to make way for the affected four this year have a regular spot on the 2020 broadcast.
Explaining the rationale behind the move, Bailey disclosed, “Viewing patterns for the Academy Awards are changing quickly in our current multi-media world and our show must also evolve to successfully continue promoting motion pictures to a worldwide audience. This has been our core mission since we were established 91 years ago and it is the same today.”
The Oscars will broadcast live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre come February 24.