The Academy seems to have lost all confidence in itself and for what rational reason? It's inevitable that ratings would decline. No matter what changes were made, they would never not have declined. It's a different time. There are hundreds of channels and hundreds of televised events where you can gawk at celebrities. Rather than trying desperately to recapture something that cannot be recaptured and to convince people who don't care about awards or movies to tune in (helpful clue: they won't) how about respecting your history by making a broadcast that pleases people who care about the things you're rewarding. There's still a lot of those people.
Want to shorten the broadcast? IT'S EASY. WE'VE ALL BEEN SAYING IT FOR YEARS: CUT 2 or 3 OF THOSE ENDLESS MONTAGES! Bingo. Saved ten minutes right there with no damage done to the integrity of the night. You'll probably read elsewhere about changes to the song category. They aren't that drastic all told. It's similar to the voting structure already in place only a bit stricter and you might have years with only 2 nominees instead of 3 to 5. Given that they didn't even consider "The Wrestler" (great song) good enough to qualify with last year's lower standards... I can't imagine what horrors they'll perpetrate now. I don't understand why the category isn't cancelled altogether. Song writing really has very little to do with the craft of filmmaking. Bingo! You've saved another 15 minutes from the show with no damage done to the integrity of the night. I've already saved the Academy 25 minutes of air time with no drastic changes.
David Poland is right
This is classic over-responding to a problem in one case and crazy responding to another.If they announce that they're going to cut the tech awards like Costume Design or Art Direction I'm going to fucking lose it. I feel like we're on suicide watch and the Academy offices are overflowing with razors and pills.