The Academy has a response for the close to 100 well-known cinematographers and directors who sent an open letter about their concern regarding the Oscars moving four awards presentations to commercial breaks earlier this week. In a signed letter, the board noted how these plans, while shortening the broadcast, will not completely omit the contributions in film of those four categories.
“As the Academy’s officers, we’d like to assure you that no award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others,” the Academy says in a statement released Wednesday night. “Unfortunately, as the result of inaccurate reporting and social media posts, there has been a chain of misinformation that has understandably upset many Academy members. We’d like to restate and explain the plans for presenting the awards, as endorsed by the Academy’s Board of Governors.”
The Academy restated its plans for the broadcast to include all 24 categories presented on stage and included in the televised show. The statement explained how the four categories (Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Live Action Short) were volunteered by each category to have nominees and winners announced and included later in the broadcast, editing out extra time. They plan to rotate four to six categories to cut down and show at different times, based on discussions with show producers.
Following the Academy’s initial decision on Monday, 40 industry professionals signed an open letter against the new policy. Prominent figures who signed the letter include Reed Morano, Damien Chazelle, Spike Lee, Seth Rogan, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and more.
“Since its inception, the Academy Awards telecast has been altered over time to keep the format fresh, but never by sacrificing the integrity of the Academy’s original mission,” the letter says. “When the recognition of those responsible for the creation of outstanding cinema is being diminished by the very institution whose purpose it is to protect it, then we are no longer upholding the spirit of the Academy’s promise to celebrate film as a collaborative art form. To quote our colleague Seth Rogan, ‘What better way to celebrate achievements in film than to NOT publicly honor the people whose job it is to literally film things.'”
The Academy hopes these new rules will honor the ceremony’s tradition and achievement in filmmaking while appealing to viewers watching at home.
The Academy’s statement continues, “Our show producers have given great consideration to both Oscars tradition and our broad global audience. We sincerely believe you will be pleased with the show, and look forward to celebrating a great year in movies with all Academy members and with the rest of the world.”
The Oscars airs Sunday, Feb. 24 on ABC.
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