Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese lead dozens of filmmakers in slamming Oscars
Dozens of filmmakers who’ve tasted Oscars success, such as Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Damien Chazelle and others, have slammed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for their decision to exclude certain categories from the live Oscars telecast.
Seeing the decision as being disrespectful to four categories singled out for exclusion - cinematography, editing, makeup and hairstyle and live action short - the filmmakers wrote an open letter criticising the Academy’s decision. Filmmakers such as 2018 Best Director winner Guillermo del Toro and 2019 nominee Alfonso Cuaron had previously tweeted their disapproval of the new regulations.
The Academy in its response said that there had been a misunderstanding, and that the winners will still be a part of the telecast - just not live. “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,” the Academy’s statement read. “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.”
Forty filmmakers co-signed the open letter, which read, “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 Oscars will air on Monday, February 25, in India. Cuaron’s semi-autobiographical Netflix film, Roma, and the period black comedy The Favourite lead the nominations.
Here’s the full letter, and the list of co-signees:
An Open Letter to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and The Producers of the 91st Annual Academy Awards Broadcast:
On Monday, February 11, 2019, John Bailey, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, announced that this year’s Oscar presentations for Best Cinematography — along with Film Editing, Live Action Short and Makeup and Hairstyling — will not be broadcast live, but rather presented during a commercial break. This decision was made to reduce the length of the show from four hours to three. The vocal response from our peers and the immediate backlash from industry leaders over the Academy’s decision makes it clear that it’s not too late to have this decision reversed.
The Academy was founded in 1927 to recognize and uphold excellence in the cinematic arts, inspire imagination and help connect the world through the universal medium of motion pictures. Unfortunately, we have drifted from this mission in our pursuit of presenting entertainment rather than in presenting a celebration of our art form and the people behind it.
Relegating these essential cinematic crafts to lesser status in this 91 st 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 show’s director, Glenn Weiss, has stated that he will determine what “emotionally resonant” moments from the four winners’ speeches will be selected to air later in the broadcast. The show will cut any additional comment from presenters, as well as any recitation of the nominees as they see fit.
Since its inception, the Academy Awards telecast has been altered over time to keep the format fresh, but never by sacrificing the integrity of the Academy’s original mission. 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. To quote our colleague Seth Rogen, “What better way to celebrate achievements in film than to NOT publicly honor the people whose job it is to literally film things.”
Dion Beebe, Bill Bennett, Roger Deakins, Peter Deming, Caleb Deschanel, Robert Elswit, Mauro Fiore, Greig Fraser, Janusz Kaminski, Ellen Kuras, Ed Lachman, Robert Legato, Emmanuel Lubezki, Anthony Dod Mantle, Seamus McGarvey, Chris Menges, Dan Mindel, Reed Morano, Rachel Morrison, Guillermo Navarro, Phedon Papamichael, Wally Pfister, Rodrigo Prieto, Robert Primes, Robert Richardson, Linus Sandgren, John Seale, Newton Thomas Sigel, Vittorio Storaro, John Toll, Hoyte van Hoytema, Kees van Oostrum, Roy Wagner
Damien Chazelle, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Spike Jonze, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Dee Rees, Seth Rogen, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino
Kym Barrett, Judy Becker, Alan Edward Bell, Erin Benach, Avril Beukes, Consolata Boyle, Maryann Brandon, Alexandra Byrne, Milena Canonero, Chris Corbould, Hank Corwin,Tom Cross, Nathan Crowley, Sophie De Rakoff, Chris Dickens, Bob Ducsay, Lou Eyrich, Dante Ferretti, Paul Franklin, Dana Glauberman, William Goldenberg, Affonso Goncalves, Adam Gough, Jon Gregory, Dorian Harris, Joanna Johnston, Paul Lambert, Mary Jo Markey, Joi McMillon, Ellen Mirojnick, Stephen Mirrione, Bob Murawski, John Ottman, Sandy Powell, Fred Raskin, Tatiana S. Riegel, Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir, Mayes Rubeo, Nat Sanders, J.D. Schwalm, Anna B. Sheppard, Terilyn A. Shropshire, Joan Sobel, Michael Tronick, Mark Ulano, Martin Walsh, David Wasco, Billy Weber, Julie Weiss, Michael Wilkinson, Hughes Winborne, Janty Yates, Mary Zophres.
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