Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9139071a) An Oscar statue appears outside the Dolby Theatre for the 87th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The largest black audience for the Academy Awards over the last dozen years came in 2005, when Chris Rock was host and Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman won the top male acting awards. Rock will be back as host this year, but it's an open question how many African American viewers will be tuning in. A lack of diversity in Oscar nominations have led to stars like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith calling for a boycott of the Academy Awards, scheduled for Feb. 28 TV Oscars-Diversity, Los Angeles, USA

Oscars telecast to be slimmed down in bid to halt falling ratings

The Oscars are being radically slimmed down, with eight gongs to be presented off air during next month’s telecast of the 94th Academy Awards, according to ABC.

The platform esports that following years of plummeting ratings, members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences received a letter from the group’s president, David Rubin, outlining which awards would be presented at the ceremony before the March 27 (local time) live broadcast.

They include film editing, production design, sound, make-up and hair styling, music (original score) and the three short-film awards (documentary, live action, and animated).

The presentation and speeches of those early eight winners will be edited and featured during the three-hour live broadcast, which Rubin emphasised would still provide each winner with their “Oscar moment”.

Rubin said the changes were necessary for the future health of the Academy Awards.

“When deciding how to produce the Oscars, we recognise it’s a live event television show and we must prioritise the television audience to increase viewer engagement and keep the show vital, kinetic, and relevant,” Rubin wrote.

“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.”

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