The Oscars just can’t seem to catch a break with this year’s show. On Monday, Academy president John Bailey informed the membership via email of the plan to have four Oscars presented during commercial breaks at the upcoming awards show.
Those four categories include Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Make up and Hairstyling. The aim of this decision is to trim the running time of the show and keep it as close as possible to a brisk three hours.
Filmmakers and leading craftspeople in the industry overwhelmingly decried the decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Director Alfonso Cuarón, whose film Roma is up for an Oscar in Cinematography tweeted his discontent in regards to the decision: “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 CINEMAtograpy and without editing.”
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.
— Alfonso Cuaron (@alfonsocuaron) February 12, 2019
Guillermo del Toro, last year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, expressed his disappointment, tweeting out his initial thoughts before amending them with this revised version, “Reposting, revised: I would not presume to suggest what categories should occur during commercials on Oscars night, but please: Cinematography & Editing are at the very heart of our craft. They are not inherited from a theatrical or literary tradition, they are cinema itself.”
Reposting, revised: I would not presume to suggest what categories should occur during commercials on Oscars night, but, please: Cinematography & Editing are at the very heart of our craft. They are not inherited from a theatrical or literary tradition: they are cinema itself.
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) February 13, 2019
Others offered a blunter take on the decision, such as Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe, who simply tweeted, “The Academy is removing cinematography, editing and make up from the televised show? This is just such a fundamentally stupid decision, I’m not even going to be bothered trying to be a smart arse about it. It’s just too f***ing dumb for words.”
Adding salt to the wound was that the announcement came from John Bailey, a cinematographer by trade and part of the Academy’s cinematography branch as well as a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.
The decision is just the latest in a series of choices that have seen huge blowback, including scrapped plans to introduce a popular film category, an abandoned move to keep Best Song nominees from performing during the broadcast, and the decision to name Kevin Hart as host before he ultimately stepped down after incurring controversy surrounding past homophobic tweets and jokes. ~Paolo Maquiraya
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