There’s still more changes afoot for future Academy Awards telecasts.  Coming off of word last week that the Best Picture nominees list will be expanded to 10 nods, the Academy just announced two adjustments to other categories for upcoming ceremonies.  The first being that for Best Song, there may be years when there is no Best Song award presented.  According to Variety: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences board OK’d the music
branch’s recommendation to alter the best-song voting so that it’s
possible there will be no nominees in any given year. It’s an apparent
attempt to preserve the integrity of the category, but an example of
“in order to save it, maybe we could eliminate it” thinking. 
The other announcement is that the all-too-often ceremony-derailing presentations of the Thalberg nod to filmmakers, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the honorary Oscars for career excellence, will be presented at a separate black tie event to be staged in November.

The previous rules for Best Song often limited the voting to those that were portrayed in clips, but often excluded key songs that were delivered only in closing credits.  Other times it led to one movie getting the lion’s share of the available five slots max (which will remain the same).  This past year’s Best Picture, Slumdog Millionaire, had two of the three songs nominated and won for “Jai Ho.”  The other announcement of the separate ceremony for the so-called “testimonial” awards, will seek to streamline the main awards telecast.  This would also eliminate occasionally uncomfortable situations like the 1998 presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to director Elia Kazan, who picked up his statue to a chorus of indifference by half the crowd who silently protested his having named names in front of the House Un-American Activites Commission in 1952. 

And if there end up being no nominees for song, that could automatically cut around 1/2 hour or so from the run time.  But that would also mean no musical numbers…unless Hugh Jackman makes his return next year.  And in that case, be prepared to watch Broadway numbers till dawn.