The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ (AMPAS) decision to present four Oscar awards during commercial breaks of the 91st awards ceremony has drawn criticism on social media, particularly by people hailing from the film fraternity.
The four awards — best cinematography, film editing, live action short and makeup and hairstyling — will be announced during the ads and the winning speeches will be edited to remove the winners’ walk from their seats to the stage. Each speech will be aired separately later in the telecast.
The decision has not gone down well with many, including filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, on social media.
del Toro, who won the Best Director award for fantasy romance drama The Shape of Water last year, tweeted, “If I may: I would not presume to suggest what categories to cut during the Oscars show but – Cinematography and Editing are at the very heart of our craft. They are not inherited from a theatrical tradition or a literary tradition: they are cinema itself.”
If I may: I would not presume to suggest what categories to cut during the Oscars show but – Cinematography and Editing are at the very heart of our craft. They are not inherited from a theatrical tradition or a literary tradition: they are cinema itself.
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) February 12, 2019
The filmmaker’s post was retweeted by del Toro’s Mexican counterpart, Alfonso Cuaron, who has received one of his Oscar nominations in the Best Cinematography segment for his black-and-white feature Roma and is the frontrunner in the category.
Cuaron, in a separate tweet, said it is not possible for cinema to exist without cinematography or editing.
“In the history of CINEMA, masterpieces have existed without sound, without color, without a story, without actors and without music. No one single film has ever existed without CINEMAtography and without editing,” he wrote.
In the history of CINEMA, masterpieces have existed without sound, without color, without a story, without actors and without music. No one single film has ever existed without CINEMAtography and without editing.
— Alfonso Cuaron (@alfonsocuaron) February 12, 2019
Director Jason Reitman, the maker of films such as Juno and Up in the Air, tweeted, “Editing is filmmaking. Say it ain’t so, Oscars.”
Mexican writer and director Issa Lopez wrote,”The fundamental role of @TheAcademy should be to recognise and showcase the talent and work of those who make movies better. By limiting the spotlight to those who already have it, it makes its core job null.”
One of the users pointed out to veteran cinematographer Roger Deakins’ win for Blade Runner 2049. He finally went home with the coveted award last year after being previously nominated 14 times.
“So if we had these rules before we would have never seen Roger Deakins win his first Oscar. Such a terrible decision, you’re supposed to be about celebrating movies, and cinematography and film editing are two of the most important parts of making a movie,” the user said.
Another user said, “A movie. does. not. exist. without. cinematography. To take off the live broadcast of the Oscars is beyond shameful. Every single person running this year’s Oscar broadcast at @TheAcademy needs to be fired. They clearly don’t love film.”
“I wasn’t planning on watching the Oscars anyway, but the decision not to televise the awards for Cinematography and Editing is so beyond stupidity as to leave me totally speechless,” a person wrote.
“Can’t we get someone who likes the Oscars, who likes movies, who likes Hollywood, who has respect for the crafts of editing, cinematography, etc. etc. to produce the Oscar show,” another user posted on Twitter.
Academy president John Bailey, a celebrated cinematographer himself, had made the announcement in a letter emailed to the members on Monday. He also explained that the four delayed presentations will be streamed live online via Oscars official website.
He said that the board of governors has committed to a three-hour show this year.
At the annual nominees luncheon last week, this was one of the focal points emphasised by Bailey and the show’s producers, Glenn Weiss and Donna Gigliotti.
“When you head to the stage, move quickly. Show us how eager you are to get up there,” Bailey said.
He added the winners will have 90 seconds from the moment their name is called to reach the stage and complete their speech.
This year the ceremony will be livestreamed, which is a first for the Oscars.
“And, with the help of our partners at ABC, we also will stream these four award presentations online for our global fans to enjoy, live, along with our audience.
“Fans will be able to watch on Oscar.com and on the Academy’s social channels. The live stream is a first for our show, and will help further awareness and promotion of these award categories,” Bailey said in the letter.
The Academy has not yet announcement a replacement for Kevin Hart as the host of this year’s Academy Awards and it is being presumed that the Oscars will be a hostless ceremony.
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