A number of Hollywood’s leading filmmakers have signed an open letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences calling for the reversal of the recently announced decision to drop four major categories from the live broadcast of the Oscars.
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On Monday, Academy president John Bailey confirmed that the awards for Cinematography, Editing, Live Action Short and Makeup and Hairstyling would be given out during the commercial breaks on Sunday 24th February, with winners speeches set to air later on in the broadcast. He added that the categories’ segments could be seen in full via a live stream on the Oscars website.
The decision was met with widespread criticism on social media from fans and filmmakers, including last year’s Best Director, Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), and now a number of major players in the industry – including Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese – have decided to take action.
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The letter, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, calls the decision “nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession”.
“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 letter reads. “When the recognition of those responsible for the creation of outstanding cinema is being diminished by the very institution whose purpose it is to protect it, then we are no longer upholding the spirit of the Academy’s promise to celebrate film as a collaborative art form.”
But the Academy does not look set to back down on the decision, releasing a letter since sent out to members assuring them 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”.
Check out the filmmakers’ open letter in its entirety below, followed by a full list of signatories. According to The Hollywood Reporter, further filmmakers names will be added at their request.
Anthony Dod Mantle
Newton Thomas Sigel
Hoyte van Hoytema
Kees van Oostrum
Cary Joji Fukunaga
Alan Edward Bell
Sophie De Rakoff
Mary Jo Markey
Tatiana S. Riegel
Anna B. Sheppard
Terilyn A. Shropshire