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Should the Oscars skip the technical awards?

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 23rd 2009 10:43AM
Will Smith at the OscarsIt's the age-old question that comes up just about every year, but after last night's marathon Oscar ceremony, I need to ask it again: Is it about time for the Academy to award most of the technical prizes (for editing, art, costumes, makeup, visual effects, etc.) either another day or before the televised ceremony starts?

The reason why I ask is because of the way the producers formatted the show this year. They did a nice job of grouping those technical awards together, threading them through the life cycle of a film's production. Believe me, it helped; instead of dragging out new presenters for each and every category, one set usually presented a few at a times (poor Will Smith was out there presenting the post-production awards almost as long as host Hugh Jackman was on stage). But somewhere around 10:30, I was still looking at the clock and trying to count how many categories were left.

It doesn't seem to matter how the Academy presents these awards. They're just boring as hell and there's nothing they can do about it to make it better. Yes, it's nice to see the people behind the scenes get their day in the spotlight on national television. But the problem is that it goes on for the vast majority of the program's middle portion, making a ceremony that could be knocked off in a brisk two-and-a-half hours into a three-and-a-half hour snoozefest.

To be honest, I can't think of a good way to fix this aside from cutting out these presentations altogether, which isn't fair to the people who win them. There's already a Sci-Tech Oscars ceremony, so it wouldn't be hard to put these awards there.

Can this be done? Or is a long, boring Oscar ceremony just something we have to accept? Let me know in the comments.
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I definitely think they should stay in. Not only because, as many others have capably pointed out, they are art categories and deserve to be treated as such, but because those categories are often the only place where popular genre films are nominated.

This year's example: Iron Man, despite a great performance by Robert Downey Jr., was only nominated for the sound and visual editing categories.

February 23 2009 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think cinematography is that boring to watch b/c a lot of those talents are what make the movie as much as the actors. What I don't care for are the shorts and foreign language. I agree with the others and killing the musical numbers and most of the montages, except maybe when Jon Stewart does them.

February 23 2009 at 10:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marcus Gorman

To even pose the question is incredibly offensive to the art and entertainment of the industry you declare that you love.

February 23 2009 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Whack em. Nobody cares about the winner in these categories except the winner.

Limit the Oscars to best picture, best director, Actor, Actress, supporting actor, actress and original screen play. Give out a few special achievement awards, pay homage to the deceased and wrap the whole thing up in 90 minutes with commercials. It took me less than an hour to get through the whole thing on TiVo.

Ditch the songs, editing, makeup, costumes, effects, adapted screen play and everything else.

February 23 2009 at 8:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You should read up on what the Sci-Tech Oscars actually are (actually called the Academy Scientific and Technical Awards). It's a recognition of...scientists.

Announcing Best Editor or Best Sound Design there just wouldn't make any sense; there's a huge difference between honoring the scientists who invented to machine the movie is edited on and honoring the artist who uses that machine to make a watchable movie.

Let's keep the artistry awards where they are. The Oscars are a celebration of the art of movie making. Does it really hurt us to learn about more about that process during the ceremony?

February 23 2009 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Oscars are a celebration of artistic achievement in film, not a celebration of famous people in film. An editor is as much an artist as a director. If you're someone who watches the awards out of a passion for the art of film, then the "technical" categories are as essential as best actor/actress. If you're someone who watches out of a desire to be entertained, then you either have to suck it up or not watch.

February 23 2009 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Andrew's comment

"The Oscars are a celebration of artistic achievement in film, not a celebration of famous people in film." Andrew, you are nothing short of a genius. That is THE perfect description of the reason the technical awards should never be cut from the live broadcast. The Oscars, contrary to popular belief, are NOT just about the movie stars; they are also about the people behind the scenes without whose enormous talent there would be no movie in the first place. And they don't deserve to be pushed aside.

February 25 2009 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fastest way to shorten the Oscars: Lose the commercials.

You're celebrating the movie industry, people, not TV.

And if the network has a problem getting rid of the commercials, put it on PBS.

I'm just sayin'. . . .

February 23 2009 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

please people i think you should be able to stay up till 11:45 without falling asleep at the wheel. Would you like a half hour show where they just read the names of the winners? What fun would that be? Not only that, but the pure excitement of these lesser known winners is the best part of the show. Unless of course you would prefer someone reading a press-release because a red carpet for that would make a whole lot of sense.

February 23 2009 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stop all winners from giving speeches. Yes we all know you want to acknowledge the losers in your category, your family, your agent, the producer, director and other actors in your movie.
You win the award. You go to the podium, get your Oscar and say Thank you Academy. The End.

February 23 2009 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am so tired today because it was on so late. They did not need to bring out the previous winners to talk about each actor. Long and Boring. That took at minimum 30 minutes.
The only thing I liked about it was that when they were talking about the supporting actresses, I was able to change the channel and watch the finish of Amazing Race.

February 23 2009 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to davidm3825's comment

Agreed. The previous winners bit needs to never return. Had they eliminated that and the pointless montages, they could have easily cut 30 minutes.

February 23 2009 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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