The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is no stranger to controversy, as the organization and its Oscars ceremony often earns backlash from movie fans for a number of reasons, the most recent of which being their decision not to broadcast eight categories live during this year's festivities. Understandably, while the Academy has earned the brunt of the backlash, a recent report from The Hollywood Reporter claims that the Academy was warned by ABC to cut a total of 12 categories from the event or risk the entire ceremony being scrapped from broadcast, though the event was able to negotiate a way forward by trimming eight categories.
The outlet notes that one of the Academy's governors whose branch was cut from the telecast "says that he was told that ABC had warned the Academy that it would cancel the Oscars telecast, via a clause in the Academy and ABC's deal for the Oscars' broadcasting rights, if 12 categories were not removed from the show. 'We were told we'd have to sacrifice something or we were going to lose the whole show,' this governor recaps."
The current plan for the broadcast is that, while the actual in-person event will award all of the categories it normally spotlights, awards for categories such as original score, makeup and hairstyling, film editing, and production design won't be broadcast live and will instead be retroactively edited back into the broadcast.
THR pointed out, "In the end, rather than dropping 12 categories altogether from the telecast, the Academy was able to satisfy ABC with the current plan, which will leave the network with more time to restore the sorts of ratings-drivers that were glaringly absent from last year's telecast, such as a host (or, as will be the case this year, three hosts), clips of the nominated films and performances of the best original song Oscar nominees."
While it is arguably the most popular awards event of the year, the actual Oscars broadcast has struggled with attracting viewers. There are a number of factors that contribute to dwindling viewership, at least one of which is the organization's tendency to spotlight more independent and therefore lesser-seen films. Films like Don't Look Up, Dune, and West Side Story might come from well-known filmmakers and actors, but projects like Drive My Car, CODA, and The Power of the Dog flew under many audiences' radars.
Seemingly in hopes of drawing in more viewers, this year's broadcast will feature the Oscars Fan-Favorite movie and Oscars Cheer Moment, both of which will be selected based on fan votes on Twitter.
The 94th Oscars is set to air on ABC on March 27th.
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