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Academy reverses course, announces all Oscars will be presented live

The change in plans came after days of growing protest in Hollywood.
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday it would scrap plans to hand out four Oscars during commercial breaks, a break from tradition that many industry leaders had decried as an insult.

The awards for cinematography, film editing, live action short and makeup and hairstyling will be presented during the live telecast on Feb. 24, the academy confirmed in an email.

The reversal came after days of growing protest in Hollywood.

Martin Scorsese, "BlacKkKlansman" director Spike Lee, actor George Clooney and other filmmaking luminaries signed an open letter condemning the proposed change, arguing that the academy was "relegating these essential cinematic crafts to lesser status."

“When the recognition of those responsible for the creation of outstanding cinema is being diminished by the very institution whose purpose it is to protect it, then we are no longer upholding the spirit of the academy’s promise to celebrate film as a collaborative art form,” the letter read.

The academy said Friday that all 24 awards would be "presented without edits in our traditional format." The organization had previously announced that the winning speeches in the four affected categories would be aired in shortened form sometime during the telecast.

The nixed plan was widely seen as a bid to shorten the telecast and boost television viewership amid slumping ratings. The academy did not say Friday whether the change in plans would stretch the show's running time beyond the intended four hours.

In the months leading up to the show, the academy has flip-flopped on several tweaks to the telecast. In early August, academy officials introduced ditched an ill-fated new category for "achievement in popular film." They later flirted with cutting some of the original song performances before abandoning that idea, too.

This year's telecast will be the first in 30 years without an official host after comedian Kevin Hart, who was originally tapped to emcee the night, stepped aside amid furor over old homophobic tweets.