The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reversed its controversial decision on Friday and announced that it would air all award categories live after facing a backlash from major Hollywood leaders, according to Variety. Previously, the academy had said that it would break with tradition and award four categories during commercial breaks in order to shorten the broadcast. But as the Inquisitr reported previously, insiders like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Spike Lee, and Martin Scorsese took a stand against the change.
The academy said that it was removing some of the awards from the live broadcast in order to cut down 45 minutes of the show to keep it down to three hours and to boost viewership, which has dropped in recent years.
Quentin Tarantino, Damien Chazelle, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Banks, Kerry Washington, Peter Dinklage, and Seth Rogen joined with Pitt, Clooney, Lee, Scorsese to sign an open letter calling for the academy to reinstate the traditional format, calling the shorter broadcast insulting and reductive.
“When the recognition of those responsible for the creation of outstanding cinema is being diminished by the very institution whose purpose it is to protect it, then we are no longer upholding the spirit of the academy’s promise to celebrate film as a collaborative art form,” the letter read.
On Friday, the academy announced that it was reversing course and airing all of the awards live after hearing from its members.
“The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling,” the academy said. “All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24.”
The move is only the latest in a series of controversies plaguing the 91st Oscars. In early August, the academy announced a new category for “achievement in popular film.” That idea was quickly nixed, according to Vanity Fair, after it caused a backlash among people who saw the award as a reactionary way to make room for more popular films.
The academy also entertained the idea of canceling the live performances of the best song nominees. It said that it planned to air just two of the songs in order to cut down on the broadcast length, but reversed course after receiving criticism, according to Variety.
The Oscars have also been struggling to find a host before ultimately deciding to skip having one this year altogether, as the Inquisitr reported.