×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cinematographers Blast Academy Response on Oscar Telecast Exclusions

Cinematographers opposing the decision to curtail four Oscar presentations on the telecast have blasted the Academy’s latest attempt to assuage concerns about the move.

The group responded Thursday to officers of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors, sending a letter Wednesday night to its membership, asserting 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 AMPAS letter also blamed the controversy on “inaccurate” reporting and misinformation.

The cinematographers group said the AMPAS response was “unsatisfying and oddly inaccurate” and reiterated its request to reverse the decision.

The controversy exploded when AMPAS announced Monday that the portions of the awards for four categories — cinematography, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, and live action short – would be presented during commercial breaks and presented later in the live on-air broadcast in edited form. The reason for cutting parts of those presentations is to keep the telecast from going over three hours.

The AMPAS decision prompted a group of American Society of Cinematographers members to issue a blistering open letter Wednesday night seeking a reversal of the decision with Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Roger Deakins, Damien Chazelle, Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese and Emmanuel Lubezki signing on, among many others. The group said Thursday that AMPAS’ response flies in the face of the how the industry feels about the controversy.

“Since our Feb. 13 protest letter was sent to you yesterday evening, hundreds of cinematographers, directors, editors, producers, actors and those representing every other filmmaking discipline have added their names as signatories,” it said. “And this growing list is now being continuously updated on the ASC website with the names of new supporters. I urge you to view it, often. The steadfast support is there to change the decision you’d made because we are the people you represent. We are Academy members, we are filmmakers — the ones who conceive, create, present, and earn our living in the film industry and support the Academy.”

ASC President Kees van Oostrum told Variety on Thursday that he has requested an urgent meeting with Motion Picture Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. He plans to attend, along with cinematographers Emmanuel Lubezki, Rachel Morrison and Hoyt van Hoytema.

The board of governors would have to reconvene in order to reverse the decision.

Here is the new ASC letter:

Response of Cinematographers to the Academy’s Feb. 13

Angeles, Feb. 14

Dear Officers of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences,

Your response to our protest letter of Feb. 13 is unsatisfying and oddly inaccurate.

To state that “No award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners any less than others” is in direct conflict with the plan presented by you to Academy members this past Monday. The act of handing out certain awards during commercial breaks and then, at your discretion, airing this content, is most certainly depicting these categories in a lesser light than those being honored live in the spotlight on the main stage.

Regarding your concerns of “misinformation” and “inaccurate reporting”: Our protest letter of Feb. 13 was created by a small group of ASC members directly referencing a copy of President Bailey’s Feb. 11 letter, as well as the AMPAS Mission Statement.

There was simply no room for misinterpretation, misrepresentation or inaccuracy. And the media has reported well on this issue and should be commended for airing both sides equally.

The other concern is exactly how the Academy came to this decision. While you have stated that branch members were involved, and the Cinematography Branch “volunteered,” it seems that almost no one knew much about this nor were any of the members at large consulted or allowed to weigh in (vote) in advance of the decision.

Since our Feb. 13 protest letter was sent to you yesterday evening, hundreds of Cinematographers, Directors, Editors, Producers, Actors and those representing every other filmmaking discipline have added their names as signatories. And this growing list is now being continuously updated on the ASC website with the names of new supporters. I urge you to view it, often.

The steadfast support is there to change the decision you’d made because we are the people you represent. We are Academy members, we are filmmakers — the ones who conceive, create, present, and earn our living in the film industry and support the Academy.

It’s important for the Academy to understand how unprecedented and surprising this decision was. The Academy has done great things for the industry and its members and that is why the shockwave this created sparked such an emotional response. We love and respect this institution and are dedicated to its success.

The mission of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is to represent us and honor our achievements. Please reverse this decision, stand by the mission, and honor all filmmakers in the main broadcast, as the Academy has always done in the past.

More Film

  • The Traitor

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Traitor'

    What surprises most about Marco Bellocchio’s Mafia drama “The Traitor” is just how straightforward it is. Given its subject — Tommaso Buscetta, the highest-ranking Mafia don to sing to the authorities — there were expectations that the director would deliver a theatrical drama along the lines of “Vincere,” but notwithstanding a few operatic flourishes, his [...]

  • Perfect Strangers

    Zhao Tao, Rajkumar Hirani Join Shanghai Festival Jury

    Italian director Paolo Genovese and Chinese actress Zhao Tao are among members of the jury for the upcoming Shanghai International Film Festival. They join the previously announced jury president, 2014 Cannes Palme d’Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the Turkish director behind last year’s “The Wild Pear Tree.” Genovese’s 2016 film “Perfect Strangers” made $7.7 million [...]

  • ‘An Easy Girl’ Wins Cannes Directors’

    ‘An Easy Girl’ Wins Cannes Directors’ Fortnight French-language Movie Prize

    CANNES  —  One of France’s most highly-regarded young women filmmakers, Rebecca Zlotowski, has won the Directors’ Fortnight prize for best French-language movie for “An Easy Girl,” a sensual coming of age tale set on France’s Cote d’Azur. From reviews published to date, “An Easy Girl” marks a return to form for Zlotowski after the disappointment [...]

  • The Secret Life of Pets 2

    Film Review: ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’

    Illumination’s “The Secret Life Of Pets” films do something the “Despicable Me” studio’s other offerings have yet to accomplish: They allow younger audiences to explore their feelings about new life experiences in a silly, lighthearted way through the travails of adorable animated animals. Despite being an overly loud and caustic clone of “Toy Story,” the [...]

  • Chris Hemsworth (H) with Em (Tessa

    'Men In Black: International' Heads for $40 Million Opening

    Sony’s action comedy “Men in Black: International” is heading for a $40 million launch in North America on the June 14-16 weekend, early tracking showed Thursday. New Line’s opening of its “Shaft” sequel, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher and Richard Roundtree, should wind up in the $18 million range during the same frame, [...]

  • Shailene Woodley probation Dakota Pipeline protest

    Cannes: Shailene Woodley's 'Misanthrope' Bought for China Release

    Chinese sales and distribution company Infotainment China Media has bought the China rights to “Misanthrope,” the new serial killer thriller starring Shailene Woodley. The deal was concluded with FilmNation Entertainment on the margins of the Cannes Film Festival. Woodley (“Big Little Lies”, the “Divergent” franchise”) will play a cop recruited by the FBI to hunt [...]

  • Rotten Tomatoes

    Rotten Tomatoes Revamps Movie Audience Scores to Focus on Verified Ticket Buyers

    Rotten Tomatoes is dramatically changing its Audience Score methodology for movies: The site’s standard user rating will now reflect only moviegoers who can prove they’ve bought a ticket to see it in a theater. It’s another troll-fighting move by Rotten Tomatoes, designed to curb coordinated “review bombs” aimed at pushing down the Audience Score for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content