The producers of the Academy Awards are conceding that despite hopes otherwise, this Sunday's telecast will run more than three hours. Meanwhile, the Motion Picture Academy separately announced that Bette Midler and Queen will perform and recent Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves will present at the ceremony.
"We were hired to deliver a shortened show," said Donna Gigliotti, co-producer with Massapequa Park native Glenn Weiss, in a New York Times story published Sunday. "How do we do that so you're not seeing award, award, commercial, award, commercial, award? So boring."
Yet after the Academy reversed course on Friday and said four categories consigned to commercial breaks would return to the live show, the organization asked her if the telecast could still be contained with three hours. "The answer was no," Gigliotti said.
She had hoped the Academy's decision to forego a host -- after Kevin Hart resigned following past homophobic tweets and jokes for which he has apologized -- would have presented a way to end the show by 11 p.m., when viewership drops off significantly. She said the show at least would begin presenting awards sooner than usual without the need to allot time to a host's opening monologue or sketch.
Eight people from outside the movie industry are being brought in to lead presentations about certain films, the Times said. Tennis champion Serena Williams will address last year's remake of "A Star Is Born," one of eight films vying for best picture. No other outsiders were named.
Meanwhile, the British band Queen, now fronted by the late Freddie Mercury's stand-in, Adam Lambert, will perform on the show. The biopic of Mercury is a best-picture nominee.
On Saturday, Midler tweeted. "So, (drum roll) Ladies and Gentlemen, I will be chanteusing (that's singing) on the Oscars on Feb 24...the nominated song from 'Mary Poppins [Returns]' ... 'The Place Where Lost Things Go' ...so excited!!" The singer-actress has won Tony, Grammy and Emmy Awards and been nominated twice for an Oscar.
The same day, country singer Kacey Musgraves, who won four Grammy Awards this year, including album of the year, tweeted a link to a news story reporting that she will present an award.
"The 91st Academy Awards" airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC.