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Oscarcast to Include Shorts, Documentaries

Presentations of Academy Awards for documentaries and short films will not be eliminated from the March 30 Oscar telecast, a move that was recommended by the academy’s rules committee.

The academy’s board of governors voted Tuesday against a recommendation that the four Oscars (two each for documentaries and short films) be presented during the academy’s science and technology dinner held a week before the Oscar show. The winners would have been present to accept the awards during the live telecast.

Word of the recommendation and impending board vote prompted protests and letter-writing campaigns from documentary and short-film makers and organizations. They argued that being eliminated from the general Oscar show format would discredit the academy and diminish the public’s exposure to the already commercially difficult areas they work in.

The issue was raised at a board meeting last month as a way of trimming a show that usually runs longer than three hours and that has been steadily sliding in the television ratings. Sources in the academy said the vote, after a long, passionate debate, was overwhelmingly against the recommendation.

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