Three easy ways to make the Oscars better (and shorter)

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Updated: 3/03/2014 10:07 am

Viewers who tuned in to Sunday night's broadcast of the 86th Academy Awards had to wait more than three-and-a-half hours to find out the Best Picture winner. While it's not the longest Oscars telecast (that was in 2002 with a run time of 4 hours, 23 minutes), it still starts feeling mighty long somewhere late in the second hour when you realize, "Jeez, I've gotta get to bed soon, and there's still about two hours left!"

It wasn't always this way. When the Oscars were first starting to be broadcast in the 1950s, it was kept to a two-hour time frame. 

It can be that way again.

But it's not just the length of the telecast that I found so obnoxious this year (although, a lot of that can be blamed on host Ellen DeGeneres with her awkward rambling comedy bits in the audience). For an awards show dedicated to the best in movies, we don't really seem to see much in terms of the movies themselves. I don't count montages where we see clips of about 20 movies in rapid succession. 

What makes awards shows like the Grammys and Tonys so much fun is they're more about the performances rather than the awards. Why can't the Oscars do something similar?

So here are three ways the AMPAS can fix the Oscars for next year:

1. Get rid of the technical categories
While the work cinematographers, sound editors and others are certainly important, viewers don't much care to hear from them. So let's move those eight categories to a different night. They could have a quick recap during the telecast. That would cut down on time significantly when you eliminate the actors reading some drivel about the job, listing nominees, waiting for them to make their way to the stage, and listening to their speech. 

2. More movie clips
Not more montages. Let's get longer clips of the nominees - really give people an idea of the performances and the films. Let's limit the montages to one per year. And while we're at it, let's keep the music performances to the Best Original Song nominees only. Sunday night we got extra performances from Pink and Bette Midler that felt totally extraneous. 

3. Show voting results
Fans of the Oscars spend about a month or so weighing their predictions. I think it would be cool to see, for instance, how close of a race the Best Picture category was this year. Did "Gravity" nearly win? Did "American Hustle" get even less support than originally expected?

What are your thoughts? Anything you'd like to see the Academy do differently in the years to come?

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