Cinematographers Society Calls Out Academy for Moving Oscar Category to Commercial Break

“We cannot quietly condone this decision without protest,” ASC president Kees van Oostrum says in a statement

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The president of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) sent a strongly worded letter to the organization’s members on Tuesday, reacting to the news that the award for Best Cinematography, along with three other awards, would not be presented during the Oscars broadcast.

The ASC’s president Kees van Oostrum called The Academy’s move a “most unfortunate decision” and promised to “protest” the decision.

“This decision could be perceived as a separation and division of this creative process, thus minimizing our fundamental creative contributions,” Oostrum said. “We cannot quietly condone this decision without protest.”

Academy president John Bailey revealed on Monday that Best Cinematography, along with the categories for Film Editing, Live-Action Short and Make-Up and Hairstyling, would not be presented live and instead be awarded during commercial breaks of the Oscars ceremony in an attempt to keep the broadcast to under three hours.

The winners’ speeches will then be “slightly edited” and inserted into the broadcast. The original presentations will be streamed live on and on Academy social channels.

The decision was met with vocal disapproval by past nominees and winners, including one of this year’s nominees, the director of “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón.

“In the history of CINEMA, masterpieces have existed without sound, without color, without a story, without actors and without music,” he tweeted. “No one single film has ever existed without CINEMAtography and without editing.”

The plan to move some of the categories off the air has prompted a Twitter hashtag, #PresentAll24, urging the Academy to reconsider.

Read the full statement below:

Dear members of the ASC,

Yesterday afternoon the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced that the Best Cinematography presentation — as well as the awards for Film Editing, Live-Action Short and Make-up and Hair Styling — would not be broadcast live but presented in a delayed and edited version during the televised Oscar ceremony. This decision was apparently made in order to shorten the length of the Academy Awards broadcast.

After receiving many comments on this matter from ASC members, I think I speak for many of them in declaring this a most unfortunate decision. We consider filmmaking to be a collaborative effort where the responsibilities of the director, cinematographer, editor and other crafts often intersect. This decision could be perceived as a separation and division of this creative process, thus minimizing our fundamental creative contributions.

The Academy is an important institution that represents our artistry in the eyes of the world. Since the organization’s inception 91 years ago, the Academy Awards have honored cinematographers’ talent, craft and contributions to the filmmaking  process, but we cannot quietly condone this decision without protest.

Kees van Oostrum
ASC President

The Oscars air on ABC on Feb. 24.