Why the Oscars faced backlash before it even started airing last night

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  • The Oscars 2022 kicked off in style last night, with A-listers gathering at the Dolby Theatre to celebrate the very best in Hollywood. Celebrities graced the red carpet for the first full and unrestricted Academy Awards in two years, with the likes of Jessica Chastain in a dreamy Gucci gown and the one and only Zendaya sparkling in a Valentino number.

    While there were some very sweet moments during the night – from Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli’s friendship to some excellent winners speeches – it hasn’t gone by without controversy.

    There was a shocking on stage moment between Will Smith and Chris Rock. The comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, and while Will appeared to laugh at first he then got on the stage and slapped the presenter. Although the live stream was quickly muted by producers, a clip of the unedited footage shows Will returning to his seat and fuming: ‘Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.’

    But before the ceremony had even aired, the Oscars was already receiving backlash online.

    It seems that eight awards were handed out to winners during parts of the show that weren’t aired – and while they were to be edited into the show, those who were watching live weren’t happy that the announcements were made behind the scenes.

    Many questioned why the stars had arrived on the red carpet so early, and the reason that some categories – including documentary short, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live action short, and sound – weren’t aired.

    However, there is a very reasonable explanation. The Oscars were hoping that by including more theatrical elements, like musical numbers and time for presenters to get in some one liners, that it would make it more ‘TV friendly’.

    Explaining the decision, Academy President Dave Rubin said: ‘[These awards] will not be presented in the pre-show nor on the red carpet, as some have speculated. Instead, the in-person ceremony at the Dolby Theatre will begin one hour earlier to present eight awards categories before the live telecast starts.

    ‘Those presentations will then be edited by our creative and production teams and will be folded seamlessly into the live televised show. To be clear, all the nominees in ALL awards categories will be identified on air and ALL winners’ acceptance speeches will be featured on the live broadcast.

    ‘Every awarded filmmaker and artist in every category will still have the celebratory “Oscar moment” they deserve on the stage of the Dolby, facing an enrapt audience.

    ‘For the audience at home, the show’s flow does not change, though it will become tighter and more electric with this new cadence, and the live broadcast should end—yes, with the Best Picture category—at the three-hour mark.’

    So now you know!

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