The Oscars' ad-break awards are shortchanging cinema

The 22 Oscars won by the Lord of The Rings sit on a table in front of the 3000 assembled fans that turned out to see director Peter Jackson and the Return of The King winners during...

The Oscars simply cannot hide some of its most important categories behind ad-breaks!

It was revealed yesterday that several awards will be presented during commercial breaks at this year's Oscars.

The move is intended to shorten the run-time of the ceremony to three hours.

Ok, so what's the problem with that? The Oscars are renowned for their overly long and lavish awards ceremony, where's the harm in shortening it a bit?

Well, the issue arises because of the categories that have been selected for this ad-break shunning. The four awards that will now be presented during the ad-breaks are cinematography, film editing, live-action short and hair styling & make up.

Overview of Oscar statues on display at 'Meet the Oscars' at the Time Warner Center on February 25, 2010 in New York City.

Right, so what's the big deal here?

The problem is that presenting certain awards during ad-breaks makes it seem like these categories have less value than those that will be broadcast as normal. That move should already be sounding alarm bells for film makers and fans alike. 

After all, making a movie requires a massive team of people to contribute in all areas, you'll know this if you've waited for a post-credits scene.

Cap In Spider Man HomecomingIf you don't have a hair and make up team for example, you lose a huge part of the film. All aspects of making a film are just as important as each other.

But isn't this a bit of an overreaction? They're only minor categories.

Not if you think about it. Cinematography and film editing in particular, are arguably the most important awards of the whole evening. Without either of these aspects, you simply cannot make a film.

LOTR Argonath

Without pointing a camera at something and subsequently editing that footage together, a film ceases to exist. The art of cinema, or film making, would simply not be a thing without them. 

The Oscars has, in its own unique way, always celebrated the art of film making. Whether that be in the acting, costume design or even the music. Each process of making a movie has always had its time in the limelight.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark Imax

That's hugely important because awards ceremonies are there to inspire the next generation of film makers, whether you realise it or not. It gives the next Stephen Spielberg that glimmer of hope that they can go on to make an Oscar-worthy film one day.

But taking away these crucial categories just makes them seem less important than they actually are. Hiding them away in ad-breaks could stop the next Roger Deakins (Director of photography on: Blade Runner 2049, Arrival and Sicario) or the next Thelma Schoonmaker (Editor on almost all of Martin Scorsese's films) from emerging. 

Wolf Of Wall Street

What this decision is doing, whether the Academy realise it or not, is making the Oscars more of a popularity contest between the biggest actors and films, rather than the celebration all aspects of film making that the Oscars should be.

While the decision to shorten the Oscars ceremony is entirely understandable, shortchanging awards by presenting them during ad-breaks is completely the wrong approach. 


I for one hope that this decision is reversed, if not for this year's ceremony, then definitely in future. 

Of course, the decision to present awards during ad-breaks could have no effect on future film making whatsoever, and I might just be overreacting, but why take that chance?

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