The Oscars Academy Award Show has undergone heavy scrutiny this year due to a series of unpopular moves such as announcing a popular movie category, fewer musical performances and the Kevin Hart scandal.
The announcement to move four awards to the commercial break – cinematography, editing, hair and makeup and best live action film – caused backlash within the film community.
The Academy claims that the cuts were made to ensure that the broadcast would be under three hours. They also claim that the audience wouldn’t even notice the change because the speeches would be moved to the commercial break, their walk would be edited out and only the speech would be shown in a montage at the end of the show.
The plan has received backlash from film makers and movie lovers alike. Film student Mary Couture thinks that the change is unneeded.
”I think it’s ridiculous,” Couture said. “They want to take away the public recognition of the awards that make film, film. Those people deserve the same screen time and public recognition as the people receiving awards for acting. Without them you wouldn’t really have a film. You would have theatre.”
Many felt that this cut would directly affect the awards that are the basis of film. Film student Andy Coutts said that he was extremely disappointed with the cut.
“As an editor it was ironic to be cut from the program,” Coutts said. “But, also I was furious because why cut ANY award. Especially editing or cinematography.”
Coutts went on to say that Guillermo Del Toro said it best in a tweet, “If I may: I would not presume to suggest what categories to cut during the Oscars show but – Cinematography and Editing are at the heart of our craft. They are not inherited from a theatrical tradition or a literary tradition: They are cinema itself.”
The American Society of Cinematographers issued an open letter critique signed by dozens of industry figures, including Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, as well as some of the nominees in the affected categories.
The letter stated, “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 also said, “We consider this abbreviation and potential censorship to run contrary to the spirit of the academy’s mission.”
The cinematographers’ letter concluded by quoting a tweet by actor-director 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.”
In an attempt to contain the growing controversy, the academy issued its own letter Wednesday, blaming the bad buzz on “inaccurate reporting and social media posts” that have set off “a chain of misinformation that has understandably upset many academy members.”
“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 Academy wrote.
Film student Harry Dunn felt like the praise wasn’t being evenly distributed.
“I think it’s bullshit, but I understand why,” Dunn said. “Sadly, most people who watch the Oscars don’t appreciate the individuals doing the jobs you wouldn’t notice, like sound, makeup. They just praise the director and the actors. While they should be awarding everyone without cutting away, the reason is the vast majority of audience members aren’t filmmakers so they don’t understand just how much work and how many people work on a film.”
Film student Nathan Gonder felt like the Oscars were falling out of touch with what the audience wants to see.
“It’s just pretty ridiculous, and it’s getting worse,” Gonder said. “It seems that the Oscars are moving away from artistic vision to appeal to a mainstream audience.”
Recently the Academy admitted to their mistake once they saw the outrage in film makers and lovers alike. They now plan to air all 24 categories during the Academy Awards telecast live on Feb. 24, 2019.