All Oscar categories to air live after Hollywood protest
Following an outcry from many of the movie industry's prominent figures, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has reversed its decision to present four Oscars during the telecast's commercial breaks.
"The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling. All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24," an Academy statement said.
On Monday, the academy said that the winning speeches for cinematography, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, and live-action short would be aired in a shortened, taped segment during the broadcast.
The academy has not addressed whether the change meant extending the show's length, which organizers have said would be reduced to three hours.
Criticism of the move was fiercely contested by many of this year's Oscar nominees, including "Roma" director Alfonso Cuaron and "BlacKkKlansman" filmmaker Spike Lee. The American Society of Cinematographers issued an open letter, signed by Martin Scorsese, Brad Pitt among others, calling the academy's plans an insult to cinematic art.
"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 films as a collaborative art form," the letter read.
In the face of strong opposition from its peers in the film and television industry, the academy held out for several days but finally changed its decision. As Variety reported, the group is bewildered, one of the insiders said, as the Academy's membership voted to approve this decision last August.
This is just the latest flip-flop by the academy in its attempts to tweak the Oscars.
The academy's headaches began after it last summer trotted out the induction of a "popular film Oscar." The plan sparked such outrage (Rob Lowe pronounced the film industry dead, "survived by sequels, tent-poles, and vertical integration") that the new award was scuttled within a month.
Kevin Hart was announced as this year's Oscar host only to withdraw days later when many took issue with his old homophobic tweets and the comedian initially "chose to pass on the apology." The Oscars are now host-less for only the fifth time in its 91-year history.
After first planning to limit the best song nominee performances, the academy confirmed that all songs will indeed be performed.
According to Variety, the 91st Oscars will now run over three hours as a result, which upends a leading Academy goal of trimming the show to 180 minutes.