It seems no matter which way the Oscars turn this year, they're running themselves into a ditch.
It began with the Best Popular Film category, which was meant the same kind of derision and hatred that's usually reserved for war criminals. After that, Kevin Hart and that whole controversy just threw the ceremony itself into chaos - eventually ending with the Oscars taking the step they should have taken all along and made this year's ceremony host-free.
Now, in a series of blunders that's worthy of award, the Oscars have opted to give away four awards during the TV commercials of the live telecast. The four categories are Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short and Makeup & Hairstyling, and an edited segment of their acceptance speeches will broadcast later in the live telecast.
Much like the Best Popular Film category, it's inspired the kind of reaction that would make anyone backpedal. A laundry list of A-list talent - including cinematographers such as Seamus McGarvey, Rachel Morrison, Roger Deakins, Reed Morano and Hoyte van Hotema, and directors such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Dee Rees and Spike Jonze - have signed an open letter condemning the move and calling on them to reverse it.
The full letter was posted on THR's website and is pretty damning, to say the least. "Unfortunately," the letter reads, "we have drifted from this mission in our pursuit of presenting entertainment rather than in presenting a celebration of our art form and the people behind it. "
"Relegating these essential cinematic crafts to lesser status in this 91st Academy Awards ceremony is nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession."
That isn't just Hollywood hyperbole.
Movies literally began with cinematography, makeup and hairstyling, and editing. Hell, the first movies created in the late 1800s were effectively Live Action Shorts. You're talking about the building blocks of the industry that we know today, and the foundation of the artform the whole ceremony is supposed to revere.
But what's actually causing all of this? Most likely, it's down to ABC and their insistence that the ceremony be kept to a tight three-hour runtime. Of course, the thing that makes this all the more misguided is the fact that people actually want to see everything. Anyone who doesn't watch the Oscars isn't going to suddenly tune in simply because it's now at three hours.
Moreover, nobody outside of the people who watch the ceremony religiously are going to even notice that Cinematography, Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup & Hairstyling are missing - so why do it in the first place? Is that really the silver bullet that's going to save the Oscars from irrelevancy? Absolutely not, and it was never going to help it either.
The fact is that the Oscars is increasingly running the risk of not only losing its legitimacy, but also the audience that still turns out for it.