The Academy Awards are the most glamorous and prestigious awards show in Hollywood — and, lately, the most controversial.

From the #OscarsSoWhite movement to dropping ratings, the ceremony faces challenges beyond honoring the best movies of the year.

Director, choreographer and author Adam Shankman, who directed the 2010 Oscars hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, stopped by LA Daily on Tuesday to talk about why putting on the biggest show honoring show business is so difficult: there are three “very, very different masters that you’re serving.”

“You have the Academy, who would be super happy if the whole thing was just like the BAFTA awards and a person came out, presented and the person picked up the award and there was just little speeches about excellence and all of that, and thank you, go away. That’s what the Academy would like,” said Shankman, 51. “Then you have ABC, that wants a big show, because it is in theory still the biggest show other than the Super Bowl on the air. Then you have the people inside of it who are sort of worrying because they know — I don’t know if people really know this, but almost the entire budget for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences every year is from the Academy Awards, from the money that is raised from the commercials.”

“Those are two very disparate desires, to have it just be about quiet excellence and fanfare and then for it to be a circus for ABC, where something big is happening,” he added. “Then you have the audience, which is sort of ahead of it and cynical. There’s a certain piece of it that is hate-watching and some piece of it that is crazy envy and then there’s the people who actually are really into it.”

Listen to the clip above to hear how Shankman — describing himself as a “bit of a PT Barnum guy” — pulled off the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. His new book, Girl About Town, is on shelves now.

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