The Academy Changes Course, Will Present All Categories During Live Broadcast [Update]

Update: Deadline reports that the Academy will now reverse course and present all categories as part of the proper live broadcast. It seems that having the entire industry oppose their plan was a hint that this was the right thing to do. Our original story follows below.The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences incurred the outrage of dozens of actors, directors, writers and producers when they announced their controversial plan to demote the winners of four categories to accepting their awards during commercial breaks of the 2019 Oscars telecast. However, these controversial Oscars category plans are apparently not quite as extreme as they sound in headlines. Perhaps in response to the fervent backlash to these plans, the Academy is clarifying that the speeches of all the winners will make it to the telecast.

In response to outrage over the announcement that the winners of Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Live Action Short, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling will be announced in the Dolby Theater during commercial breaks with their truncated speeches shown during the telecast, the Academy issued a letter clarifying that the winners of these four categories will still make their speeches during the broadcast.

"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," the letter states.

The only thing that will be cut will be the "time spent walking to the stage and off," the Academy wrote in their letter, which is a revision from earlier reports that only truncated versions of the speeches would be aired. The Academy announced that it would award four categories during commercial breaks to trim down the length of the telecast. However, this new plan doesn't seem like it will save them much time, as it can't take more than 30 seconds for the winners to walk on and off stage. But this is still a much better alternative to not seeing these categories — which are incredibly essential to the craft of filmmaking — at all.

Read the full letter below.

Oscars Category Plans Letter

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.

    Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Roger Deakins, and More Pen Open Letter to Academy

    But several filmmakers aren't buying the Academy's defense. Ignoring the part where they basically call all prior reporting on this announcement "fake news," these edits of the time spent walking to stage likely won't amount to more than 10 minutes of air time — which is not enough if the Academy wants to keep the telecast under three hours like they intend.

    Martin ScorseseQuentin TarantinoSpike LeeDamian ChazelleSeth RogenAng LeeCary Joji FukunagaSpike Jonze, and Dee Rees are among the signees of an open letter to the Academy urging the show's producers to walk back their decision to exclude the four categories from accepting their awards on air.

    "The vocal response from our peers and the immediate backlash from industry leaders over the Academy's decision makes it clear that it's not too late to have this decision reversed," more than 90 cinematographers, directors, and filmmakers wrote in the open letter. "Relegating these essential cinematic crafts to lesser status in this 9 st Academy Awards ceremony is nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession."

    Read their full statement here.