When the 87th
The Oscars extravaganza is not normal entertainment. Like the Super Bowl, it is event TV. No one expects the super Bowl to be confined to a tight schedule, even if the game is tedious. It takes as long as it takes. The same goes for the Academy Awards.
Yes, this year's iteration went 3-1/2 hours, but it was probably worth taking the extra time, if only to avoid having so many speeches rudely cut short by an impatient producer cueing music from the orchestra to usher a rattled winner off the stage just when he or she is getting around to thanking the kids at home.
And, sure, some of the stunts
The thing is, most people are not glued to the screen for every second of the show. For many, it's a social occasion. People are jumping up to refresh a drink or pull something out of the oven. They are bantering back and forth during the boring bits and debating whose dress is the sexiest and which actor is aging least gracefully.
Folks in the Oscar audience are not sitting there like they are at the symphony. They are multitasking – talking, drinking, eating, laughing, complaining, whooping it up when their favorite film wins and moaning when the one they hate grabs an award. The Oscars ceremony is not just another TV show, it's an excuse for a party and, like any party, who cares how long it takes as long as it's fun?