We Now Know Which Categories Won’t Be Televised During The Oscars

A bad decision gets worse. Yesterday, in an email to the AMPAS membership, Academy President John Bailey revealed which categories are going to given out during the commercial portion of the Oscar telecast. We’ll tell you what they are next, but in what probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone following this debacle, the choices are terrible. Anyone hoping that this would be just the three Short categories are sorely mistaken. There are four Oscars that won’t be given live, and only one is a Short. In fact, two of the categories now on tape delay are among the biggest of the technical fields. It’s truly a mindbogglingly awful decision. For what it’s worth, they will be streaming these categories online in their live format, but still, that’s very much putting lipstick on a pig.

The first category, and arguably the biggest, is Best Cinematography. Yes, you read that right. One of the perennially most anticipated below the line categories will be given out during a commercial break. Alfonso Cuaron is likely to take home this statue for Roma, but imagine if there’s an upset? What if Matthew Libatique, Robbie Ryan, or Lukasz Zal ends up winning? What a clusterfuck that would be. Of all their decisions, this one makes the least sense. It stinks to high heaven like Bailey, a cinematographer himself, is trying to show that he’s not playing favorites. Regardless…WTF?

Next is another bizarre choice in Best Film Editing. One of the most reliable indicators of Best Picture and how the night is going is this category. Now, it’ll just be done during the commercials. To make matters worse, this is perhaps the most up in the air race this year. Anything could take home the Oscar. Unfortunately, the suspense will be completely taken away, which is part of the charm of an Oscar telecast. The Academy really screwed the pooch here, plain and simple.

The third category getting the live telecast downgrade is Best Makeup & Hairstyling. Though not as sexy as the first two, cinema wise, it’s literally one of the most interesting visual categories of the evening. It’s not quite as easy to take them to task for this one, but you would have thought this would have been the egregious choice, not the one you throw up your hands and can’t work up the energy to battle over. Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous.

Finally, the fourth category is one of the Shorts, namely Best Live Action Short. This was one that I had always presumed would be on the chopping block, for obvious reason. Why they chose this particular one though, and not the other ones? Your guess is as good as mine. Puzzling, to say the absolute least about it. The logic is just nonexistent.

So, those are the categories getting the shaft. Ridiculous, right? Bailey says these categories will be excluded from consideration next year, as this is going to be done on a rotating basis. Frankly, there’s no reason to assume this will get any better. If you want to delve into conspiracy, the four categories are the only ones that don’t have ABC/Disney content among the nominees. Cinematography likely is going to Cuaron, so there’s also possibly an attempt to eliminate the same recipient giving multiple speeches, though that probably still happens anyway. It’s a mess, plain and simple. There’s a piece coming this week I’ve been working on about how this could be the worst Oscar telecast ever, and this does absolutely nothing to change my mind about that. Sigh…


Stay tuned to see just how bad this can get!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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