The 2019 Oscars have been like Sideshow Bob in that Simpsons episode where he keeps stepping on rakes: Every decision has resulted in a swift whack to their own face. First there was their quickly jettisoned notion of a “Popular Movie” category, widely seen as condescending to popular films like Black Panther (which wound up being nominated for Best Picture anyway). Then there was their disastrous, ultimately fruitless attempts to find a host, resulting in them going with none for the first time in 30 years
Then there have been their attempts to cut the notoriously long ceremony down. First they wanted to snip some, but not all, of the Best Original Song performances; the outcry put a kibosh on that. Now the same thing’s happening to their newly announced decision to not air four of the categories, instead handing out the respective awards during commercial/bathroom breaks.
The decision — revealed by Academy president John Bailey — came Monday night, and it was met with swift and loud disapproval. The categories in question are cinematography, film editing, live action short, and hair and make-up. (Bailey, incidentally, is a longtime cinematographer.) Everyone, especially broadcasting company ABC, wants a show that runs not much longer than three hours. But the attempts to shorten the ceremony have so far been seen as disrespectful and cruel.
(The record for longest show, by the way, is the 2002 Oscars, which ran a whopping four hours and 23 minutes — or, to put it into perspective, almost a half hour longer than Gone with the Wind. The shortest was the first, from 1929: a mere 15 minutes, long before the show was broadcast — before, indeed, there was even broadcast television.)