Los Angeles, February 13: Hollywood filmmakers like Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro and leading craftspeople have condemned a decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to hand out four awards during commercial breaks in the hope of trimming the shows run time. Nominees and their colleagues from the commercial-banished categories of cinematography, make-up and hairstyling, film editing, and live action shorts slammed the decision in interviews and via heated posts on social media, reports variety.com.
"I find it depressing that they are doing this. Hopefully it won't be like the part of the show where they play clips from the Sci-Tech awards dinner. That always feels a bit sad, like they didn't get invited to the real party," said cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, a nominee this year for "Never Look Away". Deschanel is referencing the Academy's annual Scientific and Technical Awards, held two weeks before the Oscars and typically hosted by a celebrity, which honours technical achievement in film. Oscars 2019 Nominations: Roma, The Favourite, Black Panther Lead the Academy Award Nominees! Check Out the Full List Here!
Deschanel has been nominated six times stretching back to 1983's "The Right Stuff", but has yet to win. Filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, a multiple-nominee for producing, directing, writing and cinematography for "Roma", criticised the Academy's decision. "In the history of cinema, masterpieces have existed without sound, without colour, without a story, without actors and without music. No one single film has ever existed without cinematography and without editing," wrote Cuaron.
Three-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki called it "an unfortunate decision". Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro said he "would not presume to suggest what categories to cut during the Oscars show but cinematography and editing are at the very heart of our craft".
"They are not inherited from a theatrical tradition or a literary tradition. They are cinema itself," del Toro said. Drake Doremus, indie director behind the late Anton Yelchin's "Like Crazy", even called for a "boycott". In a memo outlining the changes, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President John Bailey said representatives from categories that were shunted off to the commercial breaks volunteered to have their award presented off-camera.
However, the board members who represent those crafts don't speak for the unions or guild membership. The show's director, Glenn Weiss, will determine what emotionally resonant moments from the four speeches make it to air later in the broadcast, according to an individual close to the production.
The show will cut any comment from presenters, as well as any recitation of the nominees, said the insider. While Bailey said the speeches will air in their entirety, that may not be the case on the big night as broadcasters reserve the right to cut them, the source said.
"This decision could be perceived as a separation and division of this creative process, thus minimising our fundamental creative contributions," said Kees van Oostrum, President of American Society of Cinematographers, in a statement on Tuesday.
"To find out so close to the actual awards that you'll be in the commercial break, it's disappointing," Lee Smith, last year's film editing winner for "Dunkirk", said. Rachael Stanley, the Executive Director of the Costume Designers Guild, lamented the loss of attention for her guild's industry siblings.