“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 stars shared in an open letter published Thursday to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the producers of the 91st Annual Academy Awards broadcast.
It came in response to the announcement on Monday that the following categories would not be broadcast and presented during the commercial breaks, “Best Cinematography — along with Film Editing, Live Action Short and Makeup and Hairstyling.” (RELATED: Report: Angelina Jolie Given Ultimatum Regarding Custody Of Her And Brad Pitt’s Kids)
“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,” it added, noting how the Academy was founded and created to “recognize and uphold excellence in cinematic arts” and “help connect the world through the universal medium of motion pictures.”
“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 letter continued.
“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 letter went on. “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,” it added. “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.'”
The open letter is signed by dozens of cinematographers, directors, actors and filmmakers.
Since the letter was published, Academy President John Bailey and the Academy released a statement that clarified the plans, stating that there had been “inaccurate reporting” on the matter, per Deadline Thursday.
“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 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,” it added. “We’d like to restate and explain the plans for presenting the awards, as endorsed by the Academy’s Board of Governors.”
The new explanation about the categories is as followed, with the full plan shared here.
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.