The Oscars are just over a month away, and the producers are still wildly scrambling to modify the show’s formula in a sweatily desperate effort to appeal to the hypothetical masses – seemingly at the expense of alienating their existing audience. The Academy just announced that eight of the awards will be presented before the show actually begins and “edited into the subsequent live broadcast,” presumably to save time while also ensuring that the unfamous nerds nominated for, say, Best Sound or Best Editing, can’t breathe on or make eye contact with Hollywood’s most precious celebrities. 

This decision has been met with a pretty severe backlash from both movie fans and members of the Academy. Of course, it’s not the first time that the Oscars have tried to shortchange the presentation of its less celebrated categories. In 2019, they announced, then scrapped, a plan to give out certain awards during the commercial breaks. In 2005, they handed out some awards in the aisles, prompting host Chris Rock to joke that the next year they’d be handing out Oscars “in the parking lot.”

This is especially disappointing because the Oscars are often at their most entertainingly bizarre when they try to enliven these supposedly lackluster categories rather than simply ignore them. Take Best Score, one of the categories that will apparently be pre-taped this year – in the ‘90s, the Oscars introduced each nominated score with an accompanying dance routine, such as when a horde of dudes in suits and sunglasses did the can-can to the sounds of the Men in Black theme.

At least that was a bouncy, relatively-danceable tune; other times, they had to choreograph experimental routines to dramatic scores – like in 1992 when some poor troupe had to figure a routine to match the score from JFK. Whether intentionally or not, a lot of dancers’ heads did go “back and to the left.”

And the time a dude honored the fallen soldiers of the Normandy invasion by tap-dancing along to the Saving Private Ryan score is an all-time, gloriously cringey Oscar moment.

The thing is, the Oscars are never not going to be boring – instead of discarding key parts of the show, please just keep them and add more ill-conceived dance projects we can all snidely Tweet about.

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Top Image: Wikimedia Commons/YouTube

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