While the Academy announced on Thursday that it was scrapping its much-maligned new Achievement in Popular Film category, the organization also doubled down on its decision to significantly shorten the length of the Oscars telecast. While it was previously announced that several categories would be awarded off-air, in an attempt to whittle the broadcast down to three hours, it wasn't clear until now just how many awards would be affected.
Additional information is forthcoming, but the Academy said on Thursday that between six and eight categories will be presented during commercial breaks, the footage of which will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast.
"Selected categories will be rotated each year," the statement said. "The Academy will collaborate with the show producer(s) to select these categories."
While the organization has yet to confirm what those categories will be, it's very likely that they'll be made up largely of technical awards, such as sound mixing and editing. It's odd that the Academy is standing its ground so firmly on this issue, especially since it, like the Popular Film debacle, was met with intense backlash. We understand that the Oscars' ratings aren't what they used to be, but sacrificing the achievement of technical award winners for the sake of ratings smacks of desperation, and is also hugely disrespectful to these talented men and women, without whom movies literally would not get made.
Thankfully, the Academy still has some time to make this right. We hope to hear another announcement reversing this decision soon.
The Oscars are slated to air on ABC on Sunday, February 24, 2019.