Producer Gil Cates' attempt to streamline Oscar tradition -- by having some nominees march out onstage before the winner was announced and asking other nominees to accept their awards from roving presenters in the audience -- was met with mixed approval.
While Chris Rock joked, "Next year, they're going to give out Oscars in the parking lot. There will be a drive-through Oscar lane," others, particularly those in the crafts area, were not amused.
Observed Visual Effects Society president Eric Roth, "Speaking as head of VES society, I wish they had not gone the route they did. It clearly looked like a second-class procedure for giving out certain awards. It would have been, I think, more acceptable if they had chosen awards from all different types of categories including quote A-List unquote categories like best actor or actress or director to receive their awards onstage."
Motion Picture Sound Editors president David Bondelevitch appeared to give Cates the benefit of the doubt. "He has my sympathy," he said. "However, when you only do this type of presentation for some awards, and you only do it for the awards that are considered "technical" categories, you're pretty much segregating them and that marginalizing their contributions. If they did it with an acting award, I would have had no problem with it. It seemed odd that some of the people didn't even go onstage (instead they were given awards in their seats).
"Finally, when they read off the names of the nominees, they didn't even cut to each of the nominees this year, they just showed an overhead panning wideshot. You had no idea who they were talking about. It was like the Dodgers deciding to take the names off the jerseys. The nominees definitely did not get more camera time."
He added, "I did appreciate Chris Rock's comment that next year they'll be giving drive-through awards -- it marginalizes those categories, and the Oscars are about recognizing the art and craft that these people have contributed to the movie."
On the other hand, at least one Oscar winner, Valli O'Reilly, who was honored for the makeup for "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," said of receiving her award in the middle of the auditorium: "It was actually easier. I was wondering if we won how I would go to the stage (in this dress and shoes). I'm a flip-flop kind of girl."
But fellow "Snicket" makeup artist Bill Corso said of the nominees who were led onstage like a "Chorus Line" lineup: "It looked like a beauty pageant. Sometimes, the old-fashioned way is the best."