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With nominees for the 94th Academy Awards set to gather next Monday for the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is attempting to calm the waters about its controversial decision to present eight Oscars ahead of — and then edit their acceptance into — the Oscars telecast on March 27.
In public comments and in private conversations with nominees, the Academy is emphasizing that — contrary to some interpretations of its Feb. 22 announcement — the presentation of all 23 Oscars will indeed take place inside the Dolby Theatre, in front of a full house, and will air on ABC.
The eight categories’ nominees’ names will be read from the stage and their winners will be able to give an acceptance speech of the same length as any other winner, prior to being escorted, like all winners, to the backstage press room.
However, in order to keep the show faster-paced and under three hours total, the winners of the specified eight Oscars will not be shown walking out of their aisle and to the stage, unfolding a thank you list or doing other things that most TV viewers would not miss. The most potent and emotional moments of their acceptance speeches will later be woven into the live telecast, as happens at the Tony Awards, and will be visible on a large screen in the Dolby when that happens.
The results of the eight categories in question will be shared by the Academy’s social media accounts — and, undoubtedly, others in the room — as they happen. But they will also be reshared at the moment they appear during the telecast.
Will all of the A-list presenters and nominees who usually occupy the front rows at the ceremony be seated for these presentations a full hour before the telecast actually goes live? No, the Academy acknowledges. They are being given staggered arrival times in order to appear on ABC’s red carpet preshow, but, upon concluding those appearances, will be escorted into the Dolby and seated between presentations of the eight awards.
Last year’s Oscars was the lowest-rated in history, with just 10.4 million people tuning in, and the Academy has felt pressure from ABC to make the show more entertaining.
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