Shortly after the publication of an open letter signed by Hollywood heavyweights that condemned plans to exclude four key awards from the live broadcast of the 2019 Oscars, the film Academy issued a statement defending the decision.
“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 statement begins.
On Monday, the Academy announced that in an effort to shorten the Oscars broadcast, the cinematography, film editing, live-action short film and makeup and hairstyling categories will be presented during commercial breaks, then inserted into the show later in “slightly edited” form. The original presentations will stream live on Oscar.com and on Academy social channels.
The decision was harshly criticized across Hollywood, including by IATSE president Matthew Loeb and Kees van Oostrum, president of the American Society of Cinematographers. The open letter Wednesday night was signed by Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee, Damien Chazelle, and many others.
In its statement, the Academy pushed back against what it called “inaccurate reporting and social media posts” and “a chain of misinformation that has understandably upset many Academy members.”
The group reiterated that the four categories will be shown at some point during the Feb. 24 show, and added the new detail that they were selected for exclusion from live presentation after they “were volunteered by their branches.”
The guilds representing professionals in the categories did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TheWrap.
Further, the Academy said that in future shows, “four to six” categories may be selected for exclusion from live broadcast, though the four categories picked this year will be exempted in 2020.
“This change in the show was discussed and agreed to by the Board of Governors in August,” the Academy said, “with the full support of the branch executive committees. Such decisions are fully deliberated.”
Read the whole letter below:
“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.
· 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.
· The four winning speeches will be included in the broadcast.
· 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.
Our show producers have given great consideration to both Oscar 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.
John Bailey, President
Lois Burwell, First Vice President
Sid Ganis, Vice President
Larry Karaszewski, Vice President
Nancy Utley, Vice President
Jim Gianopulos, Treasurer
David Rubin, Secretary”