The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have drawn ire once again from filmmakers and fans alike after it was announced that four major categories – including Best Cinematography and Best Editing – will be eliminated from the TV broadcast of this year’s Oscars ceremony.
In an email to members, Academy president John Bailey explained that the awards for Cinematography, Editing, Live Action Short and Makeup and Hairstyling would be given out during the commercial breaks. He added that the speeches from the four winners would be shown later on in the broadcast, and that they will be available to watch on the live stream online, which is not subject to the same commercial obligations as on television.
The decision, which comes as the show is shortened to three hours (last year’s ceremony ran to three hours and 58 mins), has has been widely criticised on social media. Guillermo del Toro, winner of Best Director and Best Picture in 2018 for his magical-realist romance The Shape of Water, politely contested it with a tweet:
“Cinematography and Editing are at the very heart of our craft,” he wrote. “They are not inherited from a theatrical tradition or a literary tradition: they are cinema itself.”
The decision is particularly stinging to some because the Oscars have historically been one of the only major awards shows to broadcast these categories.
“The Oscars get s*** for being elitist but they are one of the only awards shows that televises winners in the craft categories,” The Mindy Project writer Chris Schleicher wrote. “This decision is reprehensible. Shame on the Academy. Shame on ABC [the US network broadcasting the ceremony]. If you don’t love a 3+ hours Oscars, you don’t love the Oscars.”
Craig Beilinson added: “If they feel so strongly about this, then I would like ABC and the Academy to produce the Oscars broadcast without any editing, cinematography, makeup or hairstyling.”
But if we’ve learned anything about the Academy from the build up to this year’s ceremony, it’s that they’re listening to their audience on Twitter. They have walked back decisions relating to the awards show’s host, presenters and categories (a controversial Best Popular Film award was culled late in 2018) in the past 12 months after online backlash, so nothing is set in stone here…