After an incredible amount of backlash after it was announced that four categories ( Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Live Action Short) would not be presented live at this years’ Academy Awards ceremony, the Academy released a statement that clarifies and defends their decision. A letter signed by president John Bailey, vice presidents Lois Burwell, Sid Ganis and Larry Karaszewski, Nancy Utley, treasurer Jim Gianopulos and secretary David Rubin, stated the following:
“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. 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 letter also clarified how the ceremony will go down:
– All 24 Award categories are presented on stage in the Dolby Theatre, and included in the broadcast.
– Four categories – Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Live Action Short – were volunteered by their branches to have their nominees and winners announced by presenters, and included later in the broadcast. Time spent walking to the stage and off, will be edited out.
– In future years, four to six different categories may be selected for rotation, in collaboration with the show producers. This year’s categories will be exempted in 2020.
– This change in the show was discussed and agreed to by the Board of Governors in August, with the full support of the branch executive committees. Such decisions are fully deliberated.
Prior to the release of this letter, an open letter signed by more than 40 high-profile cinematographers and directors, such as Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Roger Deakins and Emmanuel Lubezki was sent out stating:
“Relegating these essential cinematic crafts to lesser status in this 91st Academy Awards ceremony is nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession.”
The Academy has toyed around with tradition in the past to help streamline the television broadcast, like having the nominees on stage before the winner was announced, but we’ll see if this does more damage than good on February 24th.