The Academy needs to present all 23


Graphic courtesy of Anna Ooka

Noah Grabianski, A & E Editor

In an effort to cut down on television runtime, the 2022 Academy Awards will no longer broadcast eight categories previously aired in past years. MPAA President Charles Rivkin made the announcement recently regarding the categories of Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Music (Original Score), Production Design, Sound, as well as all short film categories. In response to this announcement, a movement has been growing to present all 23 categories at the Oscars. 

The Academy made the move in order to fit the broadcast into a three-hour long broadcast and guarantee to not run over, as it usually does. However, the change could result in more alienation from their potential audience than a gain in views. Viewership for the Oscars has been overall on the decline since 2014. Most notably, viewership dropped a full 56% for its 2021 broadcast from the previous year. Cutting categories from the broadcast isn’t going to fix the issue at all – in fact, it may hurt it.

A potential reason why viewership went down so much in 2021 may be the COVID-19 epidemic. After many theaters were closed down, films that could’ve done very well were forced to be delayed until later in the year or were released on streaming services for a much smaller audience. A full year later, however, this has certainly changed, as most theaters are back open. 

The Academy believes, however, that the drop in viewership came from the ceremony being too long. The runtime in 2021 was three hours and 19 minutes long, down a full 17 minutes from that of the 2020 ceremony. 2019 was the first year since 2012 that the ceremony was under three and half hours; coincidentally, that was also the year the current viewership slump began. In fact, the most recent year to display an actual increase in viewers, 2018, consisted of the longest ceremony at three hours and 53 minutes. So, evidently, the length of the broadcast isn’t an issue – at least, not the primary one. 

The decision to cut out categories has a huge effect on filmmakers themselves – especially those who may win a category that isn’t presented. The people who do the hard work involved with these tasks absolutely deserve to be recognized for their achievements, and by taking away the stage for them to accept the awards, the Academy instead takes away a massive opportunity to honor those who do all the work behind the camera. This also includes winners and nominees of short film categories, many of whom are aspiring filmmakers and are just getting their start in the industry and could certainly use the recognition. The decision reeks of a gross disrespect from the Academy towards the people who ensure their existence.

Since the announcement, a movement has begun labeled “Present All 23,” a call for the Academy to present the winners of all 23 Oscar categories. While keeping every aspect of the Oscars in a live broadcast would most certainly make it run over four hours, it would be absolutely worth it in order for filmmakers to get the recognition they deserve for their hard work.