Over 40 heavy-hitters have signed a letter of protest to the Academy, calling for a reversal of the decision to present Oscars for best cinematography, editing, production design, sound and VFX during commercial breaks.
The signers have called this plan “nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession.”
The signers include (a) directors Damien Chazelle, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Spike Jonze, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Dee Rees, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, (b) producer Seth “Rogan” and (c) cinematographers Dion Beebe, Bill Bennett, Roger Deakins, Caleb Deschanel, Robert Elswit, Janusz Kaminski, Ed Lachman, Emmanuel Lubezki, Anthony Dod Mantle, Seamus McGarvey, Chris Menges, Reed Morano, Phedon Papamichael, Wally Pfister, Rodrigo Prieto, Robert Richardson, John Seale, Vittorio Storaro, John Toll and Hoyte van Hoytema.
Almost simultaneously, AMPAS officers have issued a letter blaming “inaccurate reporting and social media posts, [resulting in] a chain of misinformation that has understandably upset many Academy members.”
The letter said that “all 24 award categories will be presented on stage in the Dolby Theatre, and included in the broadcast.” It said that “the four winning speeches will be included in the broadcast.” It explained that the four “commercial break” categories “were volunteered by their branches to have their nominees and winners announced by presenters, and included later in the broadcast.” And it declared that “in future years, four to six different categories may be selected for rotation, in collaboration with the show producers…this year’s categories will be exempted in 2020.”