Oscars academy reportedly devolving into ‘civil war’ over decision to pre-tape some awards

Academy is facing record-low ratings and is looking to juice its viewer numbers.
An Oscar statue at the 92nd Academy Awards, Feb. 8
An Oscar statue at the 92nd Academy Awards, Feb. 8

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – the organization in charge of the legendary, near-century-old Academy Awards ceremony – is reportedly devolving into bitter infighting over a decision to pre-tape multiple awards in an effort to boost its sagging viewing numbers.

The academy recently announced the decision to hand out several award classes prior to the live broadcast of the show. The move was largely seen as an effort to tighten up the actual ceremony and stanch the hemorrhaging of viewership numbers, which have fallen precipitously low in recent years. 

The Hollywood Reporter said this week that the academy is "experiencing something of a civil war" over that decision, with "many Academy members … relentlessly slamm[ing] the organization" for the move.

Mitchell Block, a member of the academy's Documentary Screening Committee, posted on Facebook that "the Academy's lack of transparency to its governors, executive committees and members got them into this mess." 

“"Top-down leadership is good for Putin but not good for volunteer honorary organizations with a membership," he said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has invade Ukraine.  

Other members offered support, with Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, a member of the academy's executive branch, praising the organization's decision. 

"It’s going to be a great show," he said. "Smart evolution of the broadcast. Nobody slighted."