Academy issues statement clarifying controversial presentation move

academy, oscars

In an attempt to appeal to modern viewers and reverse staggering ratings the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been making some decisions that make you wonder just what the hell is going on in their offices. Adding to the tire fire of questionable moves, the Academy recently announced several categories would be awarded during commercial breaks, resulting in vast outrage from the film community. Trying to set the record straight, the Academy has issued a statement citing “misinformation” and “inaccurate reporting” as misconstruing what their plan is for the ceremony.

In an open letter to Academy members (and seemingly anyone else who’s angry over the move) signed by higher-ups including president John Bailey, first vice president Lois Burwell, and vice president Sid Ganis, the statement explained their move to have awards for cinematography, editing, makeup & hairstyling and live action short be shot during commercial breaks. The full letter clarifies that no award will be “presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others,” all before laying out the plan in a bullet-point way.

Dear Members,


As the Academy’s officers, we’d like to assure you 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.  Unfortunately, as the result of inaccurate reporting and social media posts, there has been a chain of misinformation that has understandably upset many Academy members.  We’d like to restate and explain the plans for presenting the awards, as endorsed by the Academy’s Board of Governors.


  • All 24 Award categories are presented on stage in the Dolby Theatre, and included in the broadcast.
  • Four categories – Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Live Action Short – were volunteered by their branches to have their nominees and winners announced by presenters, and included later in the broadcast.  Time spent walking to the stage and off, will be edited out.
  • The four winning speeches will be included in the broadcast.
  • 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.
  • This change in the show was discussed and agreed to by the Board of Governors in August, with the full support of the branch executive committees. Such decisions are fully deliberated.

Our show producers have given great consideration to both Oscar tradition and our broad global audience.

We sincerely believe you will be pleased with the show, and look forward to celebrating a great year in movies with all Academy members and with the rest of the world.

John Bailey, President

Lois Burwell, First Vice President

Sid Ganis, Vice President

Larry Karaszewski, Vice President

Nancy Utley, Vice President

Jim Gianopulos, Treasurer

David Rubin, Secretary

This open letter comes after a different kind of letter was issued the other day, in which numerous cinematographers, directors, and filmmakers signed their name to a statement condemning the Academy’s move to have certain awards given out during commercial breaks. “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 included. Cinematographers like Janusz Kaminski, and Roger Deakins and filmmakers Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino and more signed their name to the letter, hoping the Academy would reconsider the move.

This move by the Academy is just one in a series of odd moves they’ve had to backtrack after an outcry from the community and social media (i.e. Film Twitter) put them in a tricky position. First, it was the announcement of a “Best Popular Film” award last summer, meant to award all the pesky blockbusters so as to not get in the way of high art in the main Best Picture slot (like GREEN BOOK). More recently there was the fallout of host Kevin Hart, the announcement that only two of the five nominated songs would be performed, and that last year’s acting winners would not get to present this year’s awards. Since then, the BPF Oscar was nixed (for now), the show was announced to be hostless, all the songs would be played to some degree, and last year’s winners will now be on stage to present awards.

On the surface, it would seem easier to try and, you know, not change things up so much, but back in September Bailey spoke with IndieWire about the necessity to change with the times, and that the Oscars is, in fact, no stranger to switching things up.

“The concept of these awards is not an iconic ritual, enacted year after year in the same way. The history of the Academy and this award is a constantly moving entity, awards have been added and dropped, branches have been added and dropped. It’s a living entity, as is the entire concept of any art form, especially motion pictures, by virtue of being so technologically defined.”

Be sure to tune into the Oscars on February 24, and be prepared to have LA LA LAND be announced as Best Picture again. 

Source: VarietyIndieWire
Tags: Oscars



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