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In the latest controversy surrounding the upcoming Academy Awards, it was announced that the awards for Best Cinematography, Makeup and Hairstyling, Film Editing and Live-Action Short would be presented during the commercial breaks and not on the live broadcast this year. This was met with major backlash from the industry. Now the Academy has responded to the backlash and attempted to address concerns in a letter to its membership. It reads in part:
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.
In response to the outrage over the reported changes to this year’s ceremony, this letter from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors attempts to set the record straight. To assuage the concerns of Academy members, the letter assures everyone that contrary to the narrative that is out there, no category will be disrespected or represented in any way as ‘less than’ any other category.
The board of governors talks about inaccurate reporting and social media posts regarding the changes to this year’s ceremony presumably because the headline-grabbing change is that categories like Best Cinematography and Best Editing will be presented during commercial breaks. That has perhaps led some to the upsetting assumption that these categories will not be seen at all during the broadcast and are thus being disrespected for other, more flashy categories.
The Academy attempts to clarify this and any other misconceptions about this year’s ceremony elsewhere in the letter, as reported by Variety. It states that all 24 categories will be presented at the Dolby Theatre and shown on the broadcast. The difference is that the awards for Best Cinematography, Makeup and Hairstyling, Film Editing and Live-Action Short will not be presented live on the broadcast.
Instead these awards, including the speeches from the winners, will be recorded during the commercial breaks and air later in the broadcast, with time consuming elements like the walk to and from the stage edited out. The branches for these categories volunteered for this position. The letter also notes that in the future, four to six categories will be selected for this position and these four will be exempt next year.
So everyone will see the awards and speeches for these four categories, it just won’t be live for those watching at home on ABC. That should come as some comfort to those who thought that categories vital to cinema like cinematography and editing wouldn’t be seen at all. However, whether or not this will reduce the backlash will depend on if people believe that by not presenting these awards live, the Academy is casting them in a light that makes them seem less important than the others.
This is just one of the various controversies that have dogged this year’s Oscar ceremony. From the Best Popular Film category introduction, backlash and delay to the issues that ultimately led to this year’s ceremony being hostless, to the reversal on not having performances for all of the Best Original Song nominees, the Academy must be longing for the days when the La La Land/Moonlight Best Picture snafu was the biggest headache to deal with.
The 91st Academy Awards airs on Sunday, February 24 at 8 p.m. E.T. Check out our 2019 release schedule to see all the movies that will be hoping to have a place at next year’s ceremony.