I take issue with Matthew Gilbert’s complaint that the 95th Academy Awards program was too long (“Overlong Oscars broadcast won’t be winning any awards,” Arts, March 13).
I’ve watched every Oscar broadcast since 1963 and thought Sunday night’s 3-hour-and-35-minute show was one of the best I’ve seen, certainly in the 21st century. It moved along well and, for the most part, gave winners a chance to bask in the spotlight for their acceptance speeches.
Every year, it is fashionable for critics — nay, expected of them — to complain about the program’s length. Why? The average duration of a Major League Baseball game in 2022 was 3 hours and 3 minutes — not counting extra innings. (The new rules may shorten games by 30 minutes.) Do people still watch baseball, even though a game is guaranteed to last longer than two hours? The average length of an NFL game is 3 hours and 12 minutes. No talk about shortening that, is there? And, finally, the average Super Bowl game is 3 hours and 44 minutes.
Should we really carp if a once-a-year event that attempts to honor a year’s worth of movies runs as long as each of these sporting events always does?