Will Packer’s Decision to Make Changes to the Oscars Sparked Controversy
A major change was made for the annual Academy Awards telecast this year, and Will Packer, who helmed the change, has been the center of a massive controversy hence.
The Oscars this year had that eight categories — in craft fields including film editing, production design, makeup and hairstyling, and sound — removed from the live telecast of this year.
Instead, they were to be pretaped and edited into the show in favor of fan-voted categories such as #OscarsFanFavorite and #OscarsCheerMoment.
The change was reportedly made to make the Oscars television experience more streamlined and approachable for the larger masses.
Understandably, a significant chunk of viewers and industry insiders were not at all pleased with the decision.
Will Packer's Response to the Controversy
However, Packer argued these changes were necessary to bring the lengthy award show that was losing viewers every year back into the fold of public viewership.
Packer was not ignorant of the criticism he'd received and the created controversy. Still, he was steadfast in his belief that the change was necessary.
"I feel very strongly about the way that I want to do the show this year. And I think that's the only way that I would sign up to do it," he told The Washington Post.
"To do a show like this, you've got to be fearless."
The famed director argued that the show was losing appeal to the general masses in recent times, and cutting down the show time to a more palatable format was a step to reverse the change.
"I want people to be talking about the Oscars in a Wal-Mart in Dallas versus just the happening restaurant in Beverly Hills," he explained.
A Necessary Change
Packer also explained that this change was not to disrespect any part of the entertainment sphere.
Instead, it was done in a way to enhance the consumer experience.
"I have not built my career within the traditional Hollywood power system," said the director who approached the industry without formal training in the performing arts.
"I come at it from a very different perspective, and that is true of the way that I approach the biggest night in the industry," he defended. "I approach it from the perspective of a consumer."
Will Packer prepping for The Oscars 2022 (Source: Instagram)
As per reports from Variety, this year's Oscar producer also argued that embracing the audience via social media and allowing them to vote on their favorites would make the Oscars more inclusive.
"It just helps to augment what is already a show that's all about elevating the best of community building," said Packer.
In his words, creating a two-way dialogue, one that was more inclusive, was paramount because "the Oscars always felt so stuffy and so one-percenter."
Still, there was still a hint of misunderstanding that the eight categories would be cut out from the show entirely, which obviously was not the case.
"Everybody on this stage values every last category, every last area," Packer said in an attempt to clear the controversy. "These are our peers."
"These are the people that we work with and people that we love, and we want to make sure that everybody has their moment on this show and is handled with the same reverence and elegance that you've come to expect with the Oscars."