Oscars 2019: Scorsese, Tarantino and Spike Lee criticise the Academy
The Academy has come under fire by the world’s leading filmmakers after their decision to reschedule certain categories for the 2019 Oscars ceremony.
The likes of Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee and Spike Jonze have written an open letter to The Academy after they revealed plans to announce certain award winners during advertisement breaks in a bid to shorten the lengthy time of the Oscars ceremony.
As the Oscars try to keep audiences engaged amid dropping viewing figures, it has been revealed that four winners will be denied their chance on world television to accept their award. The affected categories are Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short and the category of Makeup and Hairstyling.
After Guillermo del Toro led the way in criticising the decision, Scorsese, Tarantino and more have joined the hunt. In the letter, the combined filmmakers said that the change in schedule is “nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession” before adding that it is “not too late to have this decision reversed.”
“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 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 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.
We consider this abbreviation and potential censorship to run contrary to the spirit of the Academy’s mission.
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.”
Cinematographers 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
Directors Damien Chazelle Cary Joji Fukunaga Spike Jonze Ang Lee Spike Lee Dee Rees Seth Rogen Martin Scorsese Quentin Tarantino
Filmmakers 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”