First, let’s get one widely misrepresented fact out of the way: The Oscars are going forward on March 27 with a 5:00 p.m. PT live ceremony that will include footage of every single winner accepting their award. How that will play out in real time has been the subject of much speculation, and many in Hollywood are crossing their fingers that the Oscar show, hosted by comedians Amy Schumer, Regina Hall, and Wanda Sykes, will be entertaining, accessible, and widely viewed around the world while at the same time honoring the artists behind this year’s nominees.
How the Academy will pull off this feat is the question, and many observers and award pundits are not giving first-time Oscar producer Will Packer the benefit of the doubt. The Oscars have ricocheted from excellent to shoddy many times over the decades and there are some who have little faith that this year’s show, which seems in desperate search of ratings, will do right by the eight winners (Best Editing, Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Sound, Live Action, Animated, and Documentary Shorts) whose acceptance speeches will be edited into the show.
The Academy is not promising to run their full speeches, but throughout the night will weave into the live broadcast edited-down video from the eight awards presented during the first hour, skipping the long walk up to the stage that has tortured so many Oscar producers over the years trying to meet the magic three-hour limit.
On March 27, the in-person ceremony will begin at 4:00 p.m. PT, ahead of the usual live telecast at 5 p.m. PT. Attendees will have tickets showing the two start-times: as always, the doors to the Dolby Theatre will close as the live ceremony begins.
The Academy will give some presenters and nominees staggered arrival times during the live pre-show that runs from 3:30-5:00 p.m. PT and, as guests wind up their pre-show red carpet crawl, escorts will usher them to their seats during breaks in the 4:00 p.m. PT hour, just as guests do during the three-hour live broadcast when they return to the theater. (In any case, seat fillers will be on hand.)
The Academy is filling up the Dolby for the first hour with nominees, presenters, and guests, from the first floor (Orchestra and Parterre) to the Mezzanines, reaching out to filmmakers and distributors who are connected to the eight awards being presented first, to make sure they’ll be present for those awards. (Some are rumored to be threatening not to attend. Most will want to accept their Oscar.)
The Academy publicity team will share the winners via social media platforms as they happen, but will post clips of their winning moments on social media during the live telecast, in the order they are broadcast, along with all other categories.
During the live broadcast, screens in the Dolby will show the eight category winners to the audience as they accept their award. All the winners, including those who received awards in the first hour, will go backstage in the order of their awards on the broadcast, to speak to the “thank you cam” to mention anyone they’ve left out, and move on to the media press rooms for photographs and interviews, in the order that their categories are presented on the show, and enjoy the experience with their fellow winners.
Truth is, the nominees from the eight categories feel minimized, dissed, and second-tier. It will be tough to give those winners a great night. And the Academy is coming from behind in trying to energize a show that needs a surge of good will behind it.
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