‘Best Original Score’ award will not be broadcast live at 2022 Oscars ceremony

23 February 2022, 13:59 | Updated: 23 February 2022, 17:21

John Williams and Alexandre Desplat are previous winners of the Oscars Best Original Score award
John Williams and Alexandre Desplat are previous winners of the Oscars Best Original Score award. Picture: Getty

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

The Academy has cut eight of its 23 categories from the live telecast of the 2022 ceremony, including Best Original Score.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Eight Academy Awards will not be presented live on air during this year’s Oscars, including Best Original Score.

The soundtrack award, which has been presented to some of film’s greatest music names including John Williams and Ennio Morricone, will instead be presented and accepted an hour before the televised show begins, and edited into the subsequent broadcast. A similar approach is currently taken at the Tony Awards.

The Academy Award nominees for Best Original Score in 2022 are Encanto (Germaine Franco), Don’t Look Up (Nicholas Britell), Dune (Hans Zimmer), The Power of the Dog (Jonny Greenwood) and Parallel Mothers (Alberto Iglesias).

The eight honours being presented prior to the live broadcast are Best Documentary Short, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup/Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Animated Short, Best Live-Action Short and Best Sound.

Bette Midler performs 'The Place Where Lost Things Go' at the Oscars 2019

In its 94th year, the Academy is under pressure to bolster its ratings, after a 51 percent drop in viewers made last year the lowest-rated Oscars telecast in history. Just 9.23 million viewers tuning in to watch last year’s ceremony on ABC, compared to the 18.69 million viewers who switched on the previous year’s ceremony.

In a letter to Academy members, Academy President David Rubin clarified that the eight awards “will then be [...] folded seamlessly into the live televised show. All the nominees in ALL awards categories will be identified on air and ALL winners’ acceptance speeches will be featured on the live broadcast.”

Despite Rubin’s attempted reassurance, the decision has been met with pushback from the music and film community, who view the move as a sidelining of music and composers in the prestigious ceremony.

Read more: Which soundtracks have won Best Original Score at the Oscars?

In August 2018, the Academy announced a variation on the 2022 move, saying it had decided to cut some of the winners from the live broadcast. But following backlash, the decision was reversed with approval from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, which approved the change in broadcasted content for 2022.

The full letter that the Academy sent to its members on Tuesday can be found below.

“Dear Fellow Academy Members,

“We’re excited to present a 94th Oscars broadcast that both honors the year’s achievements in motion pictures and provides boundless entertainment for our global audience of movie lovers. After carefully listening to feedback and suggestions from our film community, our network partner, and all those who love the Oscars, it was evident we needed to make some decisions about the broadcast that are in the best interest of the future of our show and our organization.

“When deciding how to produce the Oscars, we recognize it’s a live event television show and we must prioritize the television audience to increase viewer engagement and keep the show vital, kinetic, and relevant. This has been an important focus of discussion for quite some time. We do this while also remembering the importance of having our nominees relish a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“In order to provide more time and opportunity for audience entertainment and engagement throughcomedy, musical numbers, film clip packages and movie tributes, a change in the show’s production will take place. This year’s show producers and Academy leadership with oversight of the Oscars have made the decision, with endorsement from the officers and the Awards Committee, that every awards category must be featured on the television broadcast, though eight awards will initially be presented in the Dolby Theatre in the hour before the live broadcast begins.

“They 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.

“This year, those categories presented in the evening’s first hour and seen later in the live broadcast are, alphabetically: Documentary (Short Subject), Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Production Design, Short Film (Animated), Short Film (Live Action), and Sound.

“The categories to be presented live on this year’s broadcast are, alphabetically: Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Animated Feature Film, Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Documentary (Feature), International Feature Film, Music (Original Song), Visual Effects, Writing (Adapted Screenplay), and Writing (Original Screenplay).

“We realize these kinds of changes can prompt concern about equity, and we ask you to understand our goal has been to find a balance in which nominees, winners, members, and viewing audience all have a rewarding show experience. Moving forward we will assess this change and will continue to look for additional ways to make our show more entertaining and more thrilling for all involved, inside the Dolby Theatre and watching from home.

“Every Academy branch and award category is indispensable to the success of a film and vital to this industry.  Both our challenge and our goal is to create an exciting, streamlined Oscars show without sacrificing the long-held fundamentals of our organization.  We appreciate your understanding and will be grateful for your unwavering support.

“Sincerely, David Rubin – Academy President”

The Oscars ceremony will be broadcast at 8:00 PM ET on Monday 28 March.

More Classic FM Events

Classic FM’s Rising Stars with Julian Lloyd Webber