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Academy Clarifies Plans For Oscars Telecast Following Backlash

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Following a wave of controversy over their plans to bump the filming of four Oscars acceptances to commercial breaks (Best Editing, Best Hair and Make-Up, Best Live Action Short, and Best Cinematography), a move which saw the Academy receive an open letter signed by more than forty high-profile cinematographers and directors (including Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, and Roger Deakins), the Academy has been forced to clarify their plans in their own open letter to combat what they call “a chain of misinformation”, due to “inaccurate reporting and social media posts”.

In the Academy of Arts and Social Sciences’ letter, they write:

“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. 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.”

The letter then continued by breaking down precisely how things will take place:

  • “All 24 Award categories are presented on stage in the Dolby Theatre, and included in the broadcast.
  • Four categories – Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Live Action Short – were volunteered by their branches to have their nominees and winners announced by presenters, and included later in the broadcast. Time spent walking to the stage and off, will be edited out.
  • The four winning speeches will be included in the broadcast.
  • In future years, four to six different categories may be selected for rotation, in collaboration with the show producers. This year’s categories will be exempted in 2020.
  • This change in the show was discussed and agreed to by the Board of Governors in August, with the full support of the branch executive committees. Such decisions are fully deliberated.”

The Academy’s clarification comes on the back of an open letter by over 40 high-profile cinematographers and directors, who wrote that “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”. They have yet to respond to the new letter.

The 91st Academy Awards will be presented at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and will air live on the 24th of February US time, and early on the 25th for those in the UK.

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