The Oscars telecast on Sunday, stripped to its bare essentials by constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, exhibited a look and feel like no others – devoid of the usual comedy and musical performances but chock full of lengthy oratory from the winners.

As the producers had promised, the 93rd annual Academy Awards ceremony marked a dramatic departure from televised Oscar presentations of the past, with no opening monologue, no live orchestra or any of the glitzy song-and-dance numbers that typically fill the show.

Performances of the five Oscar-nominated best original songs were relegated to pre-recorded presentations broadcast during a two-hour pre-show ahead of the main event on the Disney-owned ABC network.

What the three-hour broadcast lacked in music was more than made up for in talk, with presenters and winners alike given license to indulge their inner story tellers.

Critics’ early reaction was mixed. TVLine’s review ran under the headline: “Hollywood’s biggest night forgets how to entertain with a sluggish, humorless ceremony.”

Read more