You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cinematographers Hopeful That Academy Will Reverse Oscarcast Exclusions

Cinematographers who are opposing the decision to curtail four Oscar presentations on the telecast have said a “productive” Thursday night meeting with Academy brass may lead to a reversal of the exclusions.

American Society of Cinematographers president Kees van Oostrum said in a letter to members Friday that he expects a decision by the end of the day. The gathering included Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and Academy president John Bailey.

“Last night, a group of our concerned members — myself, Hoyte van Hoytema, Rachel Morrison and Emmanuel Lubezki — had a very productive and positive meeting with Dawn Hudson, CEO of the Academy, with John Bailey present,” van Oostrum said. “Today they will let us know if the Academy will (hopefully) reverse its decision in regards to the Awards program.”

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

Here is the new ASC letter:

February 15, 2019

Dear members,

At this point in time, I want to address the developments in regard to the Academy Awards directly with you.

On Monday, the Academy released the notice that the Oscar presentations to four branches — Cinematography, Editing, Makeup, and Hair Styling and Live Action Short Film — would be shorter. Representing our members of the ASC, I went public with a statement that called the decision “unfortunate” and one that we could not stay “silent” on.

Immediately, a group of our members developed an initiative to write an open letter to the Academy that could be signed by all of our supporters, which as you know went far beyond our membership and extended to now not only nearly 200 cinematographers but 75 directors, 80 actors, 30 editors and numerous other motion picture professionals. As we speak the list is still growing and this morning also Meryl Streep signed. Most of them are Academy members and many are previous Oscar winners and nominees.

The ASC found itself in the middle of this “grassroots” movement and some of you have voiced concern regarding our member John Bailey, ASC, president of the Academy, and the threat that this movement could potentially pose to the Academy as an institution.

Let me first state that everyone involved with this movement has nothing but the greatest respect for John Bailey. Not only is he one of us, but he also has an impeccable reputation of being an ethical and conscientious leader. Our “open letter” effort is directed at the Academy executives and is rooted in a concern that they are contemplating shortsighted changes and risking a potential PR fallout that could endanger the future of the entire organization. Many of us are Academy members and all are indirect benefactors from many of the great programs in education, preservation anddiversity that the Academy supports.

In this fashion, this movement has moved beyond just protecting our position as cinematographers during the Awards.

Last night, a group of our concerned members — myself, Hoyte van Hoytema, Rachael Morrison and Emmanuel Lubezki — had a very productive and positive meeting with Dawn Hudson, CEO of the Academy, with John Bailey present. Today they will let us know if the Academy will (hopefully) reverse its decision in regards to the Awards program. We feel that that would not only be great for the upcoming event but also a major step in the direction of the ASC working closely with the Academy to deal with the larger issues ahead of us.

The Academy’s board of governors has done a fantastic job over the years. We owe a debt of gratitude to our representatives — John Bailey, Daryn Okada, and Mandy Walker — as they have handled many other issues and made important progress. Mandy has performed especially brilliantly during this Awards conflict and has been very sincere in representing our point of view.

I hope this letter helps inform you of the full situation and the progress that has been made and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.


Kees van Oostrum, ASC

More Film

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Brazil's 'Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão' Wins Cannes Un Certain Regard Award

    Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz emerged triumphant in tonight’s Un Certain Regard awards, as Nadine Labaki’s jury named his period melodrama “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão” the best film in the program. Full story to come. List of winners: Un Certain Regard Prize: “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão,” Karim Aïnouz Jury Prize: “Fire Will [...]

  • Dan the Automator

    Heeding the Call of Olivia Wilde, Dan the Automator Scores 'Booksmart'

    Dan The Automator, aka Daniel Nakamura, knows a thing or two about setting a mood. The Bay Area-based producer has worked on projects such as Gorillaz’s debut album, Handsome Boy Modeling School (with Prince Paul) and multiple projects with rapper Kool Keith. Now, Nakamura has set his sights on film scoring, and will make his [...]

  • It Must Be Heaven

    Cannes Film Review: 'It Must Be Heaven'

    Continuing to chart his own path in a Palestinian film landscape generally perceived as monolithic, Elia Suleiman turns his delightfully absurdist, unfailingly generous gaze beyond the physical homeland, where parallels and dissonance abound. By now Suleiman’s distinctive style is not just well-known but eagerly anticipated, his wide-eyed, expressive face forever compared with Buster Keaton as [...]

  • 'Sibyl' Review: Justine Triet's Witty, Slinky

    Cannes Film Review: 'Sibyl'

    How often do we see a movie psychotherapist who’s actually good at their job? Genre film is peppered with on-screen couch doctors whose unorthodox methods or blatant non-professionalism keep the story rolling, whether they’re falling in love with clients or going steadily mad themselves. Played with smart, subtle verve by Virginie Efira, the title character [...]

  • Akira

    Taika Waititi's 'Akira' to Face Off Against 'John Wick 4' in 2021

    Warner Bros. has dated its live-action “Akira” movie, directed by Taika Waititi and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, for May 21, 2021, when it will face off against “John Wick 4.” The studio announced the date on Friday, two days after pushing the release of “DC Super Pets” back a year, avoiding opening against “John Wick [...]

  • Sylvester Stallone

    Cannes: Sylvester Stallone Says 'Rambo' Wasn't 'Meant to Be a Political Statement'

    The final day of Cannes was devoted to honoring Sylvester Stallone, who conducted a masterclass on the Croisette, where he looked back at his 43-year career and discussed how he never intended “Rambo” to get so political. Thousands queued outside the Salle Debussy to sit down with the star and gave him a raucous standing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content