After Backlash, Academy Opts Against Commercial-Break Oscar Presentations

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - After a week of backlash, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reversed course today and scrubbed plans to present four Oscars during commercial breaks of this year's Academy Awards telecast.

``The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards -- cinematography, film editing, live action short and makeup and hairstyling,'' according to a statement from the Academy's Board of Governors. ``All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, Feb. 24.''

The Academy announced Monday that Oscars in the four categories would be presented during commercial breaks, with acceptance speeches by the award winners being edited and aired later during the broadcast.

The move was made as part of a stated Academy goal of ensuring the Oscar telecast -- which in some years has stretched to the four-hour range -- is held to three hours. Academy President John Bailey said in an email to members on Monday that the four categories awarded during commercial breaks would rotate each year.

But some members of guilds representing the affected Oscar categories lashed out at the decision to push their categories into commercial breaks, saying it belittled their contributions to filmmaking. Director Spike Lee was among those lending his voice in opposition.

The Academy's decision Friday to scrap the commercial-break presentations was the latest mishap affecting this year's Oscars. The Academy announced last year that it would be creating an Oscar category to recognize ``popular'' films, but that move was put hold amid an array of questions about how such box-office blockbusters would be nominated and judged.

In December, comedian Kevin Hart was named host of the ceremony, but he withdrew days later in response to criticism of past homophobic comments and jokes. No replacement for Hart has been chosen, so this year's ceremony will be held without a host.

The Oscars will be held Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Photo: Getty Images

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