Last year, at the 2021 Academy Awards, a history-making moment happened in the Makeup and Hairstyling category, when for the first time ever two Black women won in that category (for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). But if there was to be another significant win in that category this year, we’ll only hear about it after the fact. Because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided that the audience at home doesn’t need to see the winners of a whole eight categories, Makeup and Hairstyling being one of them, and they’re shuffling those eight award categories out of the broadcast lineup.
The Oscars have been struggling to attract viewers in recent years, and some – like Seth Rogen – have speculated that people might not be turning in because thy truly don’t give a shit who wins a naked gold man statue. The AMPAS is clearly freaking out and trying to cook up a way to get people watching again. Letting Wanda Sykes crack jokes about the famous people in the audience is a start. But they announced that they are removing eight award categories from the broadcast to streamline the official broadcast and increase viewership. That’s not to say they’re killing those eight categories permanently – they’re just going to hand out those awards during the pre-show…that barely anyone watches. The Academy president, David Rubin, said this in a statement, via The Wrap:
“After carefully listening to feedback and suggestions from our film community, our network partner, and all those who love the Oscars, it was evident we needed to make some decisions about the broadcast that are in the best interest of the future of our show and our organization. When deciding how to produce the Oscars, we recognize it’s a live event television show and we must prioritize the television audience to increase viewer engagement and keep the show vital, kinetic, and relevant.
Moving forward we will assess this change and will continue to look for additional ways to make our show more entertaining and more thrilling for all involved, inside the Dolby Theatre and watching from home”
There are 23 awards that are presented at the Academy Awards, and the eight that you won’t see presented (unless you’re rip-rearing to go and catch an hour of pre-show footage as well) are:
Best Documentary Short Subject
Best Film Editing
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Best Original Score
Best Production Design
Best Animated Short Film
Best Live Action Short Film
That leaves the big four acting awards for the ceremony, the screenplays, Best Director, as well as the audience-grabbers like Best Original Song, Best Animated Feature, and Best Picture. This isn’t the first time the AMPAS has decided to present some awards outside of the official broadcast. Three years ago, the 2019 Oscars put the categories of Makeup and Hairstyling, Cinematography, Live Action Short, and Film Editing into an awards show Bermuda Triangle they called “delayed presentations,” which meant if you wanted to see those winners, you’d have to log onto a live stream.
Naturally, the internet had thoughts about this, and the award for Best Way To Turn Oscar Fans Against You and Start Rage Tweeting goes to: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences! Many have pointed out that the work recognized in those eight categories are all critical to the filmmaking process, and that you literally couldn’t even have an Oscars ceremony without production design, editing, sound, makeup, and hairstyling, or an original score. Others have noted that it’s a futile gesture to try to court a mainstream audience that might not even be watching in the first place.
— Doug Jamieson (@itsdougjam) February 22, 2022
In the last 10 years, the only tie that happened at the #Oscars was in the Sound category.
Sir Ennio Morricone’s overdue Oscar speech in 2015.
Meryl’s tribute to her makeup artist when they both won in 2011.
We need to see these moments live as they happen.#PresentAll23
— Nicol (@nikowl) February 23, 2022
This is truly the ultimate insult to the art of filmmaking. Without score, makeup, hair, editing, sound, production design you would have nothing. Why distort the show? ARE YOU REALLY going to Edit Joe Walker and Hank Corwin and Myron Kerstein? #Oscars
— Jazz Tangcay (@jazzt) February 23, 2022
The Academy has tried a stunt like this in the not-so-distant past. In 2018, they pitched the idea of a new category called Best Popular Film, which would honor your Spider-Manses and your House of Guccis. But that idea was quickly scrapped after tons of backlash from people accusing the Oscars of pandering to the Multiplex-going folks at home. You know, the types who saw that The Power of The Dog got so many nominations and thought, “Huh, is that a sequel to Air Bud?“. So there’s a chance they might scrap this idea too. The only reason to eliminate nearly 35% of the award categories is that they want to shorten the ceremony down to a tight 90 minutes. And honestly, with the news that the Academy is letting unvaccinated, untested, unmasked types come to the show, it’s best if everyone spends as little time inside the Dolby Theater as possible.