The organization board of governors of the 91st Academy Awards has committed to a three-hour show this year. The decision came after last year’s all-time low viewership. In an attempt to shorten the show and make it more appealing to the modern viewers, the Academy will present four categories during the commercials unlike in the past years where all awards were presented during the live broadcast. Academy’s president John Bailey expects every Oscar winner to help the organization wrap this year’s ceremony in only three hours:
“When you head to the stage, move quickly. Show us how eager you are to get up there,” he said.
Nominated actresses might want to stay away from massive ball gowns and other tricky outfits as the winners will have only 90 seconds from the moment their name is called to get on the stage and complete their speech. However, this is not the main reason that caused many eyebrows to raise especially among filmmakers.
The Academy has confirmed that the following categories Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup And Hairstyling, and Live-Action Short will be presented during commercial breaks. The four categories will be streamed live on Oscars.com, and the winners’ acceptance speeches will be aired later in the telecast. Members of the filmmaking industry aren’t happy with this decision. They expressed their disagreement with an open letter to the Academy, supported by many prominent filmmakers among which Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Spike Lee. In the open letter, cinematographers, editors, production designers, sound and VFX are calling Oscar’s plan “an insult” and are asking the Academy to reverse its decision.
The American Society of Cinematographers president Kees van Oostrum also sent a letter to his 380 members in which among other things he wrote:
"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… we cannot quietly condone this decision without protest.”
President John Bailey who belongs to the cinematographic branch explained that the Academy is "still honoring the achievements of all 24 awards on the Oscars,” and that each year the categories presented during commercials will rotate. He also added that the cinematography branch of the Academy volunteered to be presented during the commercial breaks, although his colleagues don’t seem to agree with this decision.
Roma director Alfonso Cuarón, who is among the nominated in the category Best Cinematography expressed his opinion amid the Academy controversial decision on Twitter:
“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.
Photo Credit: @alfonsocuaron/Instagram
The 91st Academy Awards will air on Sunday, Feb. 24. So far, the Academy hasn’t changed its decision. Although the majority of the industry doesn’t agree with the new plan for the Oscars, we will most likely watch commercial breaks while the best cinematographers, film editors, makeup artists, and hairstylists, as well as the people behind the best short film, accept their Oscars. On the bright side, you can see their acceptance speeches later in the telecast or live on Oscars.com.