After the backlash, the Oscars will present all 23 awards live

Following fierce pushback from its own members over changes to this year’s Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will once again present all 23 award categories live during the 2023 telecast.

Academy chief executive Bill Kramer confirmed to Variety on Tuesday that the upcoming telecast will return to its traditional format after eight less star-studded Oscar categories were cut from the live broadcast in March, sparking widespread anger within the organization.

“We are committed to having a show that celebrates the artisans, the arts and science, and the collaborative nature of filmmaking,” Kramer told Variety . “That’s very much the mission of the Academy, and I’m very confident that we can make a show that celebrates all the components of film in a fun and engaging way.”

In an attempt to reduce the often bloated show to less than three hours, the academy presented eight categories of films below the line and shorts before the start of the latest live broadcast. The winners’ speeches in the affected categories—film editing, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design and sound, as well as the three short film categories—were later edited into the broadcast in truncated form.

In the run-up to the show, the ratings-seeking gambit was considered an affront to cinema by some of the industry’s most prominent figures, including Jane Campion, Steven Spielberg, Denis Villeneuve and Guillermo del Toro.

In an open letter, 70 prominent film professionals – including James Cameron, John Williams and former academy governor Kathleen Kennedy – criticized the plan, saying it would do “irreparable damage” to the reputation of the Oscars by treating some of the biggest film artisans as “second-class citizens”.

The experiment ultimately failed, the show lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes, leaving many members bitter. In a statement after the Oscars, the Society of American Cinema Editors said: “We feel cheated, insulted and angry at the way our art has been dismissed in favor of spectacle and bloated spectacle.”

Since taking over the reins of the academy in June, Kramer has held numerous discussions with members and fellow academy leaders, making clear his desire to bring all award categories back to live broadcasting.

Speaking at a roundtable of reporters in August, Kramer said: “We want to see all disciplines fairly recognized on the show. This is our goal. There are many ways to do this. And we’re working on that with ABC right now.”

In recent years, the academy has come under increasing pressure from its longtime partner ABC to reverse a steep slide in ratings at the Oscars. Buoyed by the controversy surrounding Will Smith slapping Chris Rock, this year’s show averaged 16.6 million viewers, up 60% from the pandemic-buffered telecast in 2021, but still second the lowest audience in the show’s history.

The 95th Academy Awards will take place on March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre, with Jimmy Kimmel returning as host for the third time, following back-to-back stints in 2017 and 2018.

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