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Academy Takes a U-Turn After Massive Backlash, Restores 4 Snubbed Categories in Live Telecast

The initial decision was made to address pressure to shorten the show, which last year ran for three hours and 53 minutes and recorded a low viewership.


Updated:February 16, 2019, 1:33 PM IST
Academy Takes a U-Turn After Massive Backlash, Restores 4 Snubbed Categories in Live Telecast
Image courtesy: Twitter

Facing mounting pressure from its members, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it will present all 24 Oscar categories live during its broadcast on February 24.

The Academy confirmed on Friday that all four of the categories that were to be presented during commercial breaks, followed by taped replays later in the show, will instead be presented live during the Oscars telecast, reports the hollywoodreporter.com.

The initial decision was made to address pressure to shorten the show, which last year ran for three hours and 53 minutes.

The Academy's brief statement rolling back the earlier decision said that it "has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards - Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling".

The statement continued: "All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24."

American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) President Kees van Oostrum wrote a letter to the Academy, thanking it "with great pride and respect," while saying "it was clear to us from the outset that the original decision was difficult, making your current direction that much more brave". He added that ASC looks forward to working closely with the Academy.

An open revolt began and grew after, on Monday, Academy President John Bailey, who belongs to the cinematographers branch, laid out the plan for this year's show, which included the the presentation of four Oscar categories - cinematography, film editing, live-action shorts and makeup and hairstyling - during commercial breaks, followed by video of the presentation later in the broadcast.

In that letter to members, Bailey emphasised that the Academy is "still honouring the achievements of all 24 awards on the Oscars".

The Academy had decided to adopt the new format in an effort to shorten the length of the show.

As the outcry to reverse the decision grew, ASC members, including President van Oostrum, Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki, Hoyte va Hoytema and Rachel Morrison, met with Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and President Bailey on Thursday night. Van Oostrum described the meeting as "very productive and positive".

On January 13, an open letter to the Academy and show producers Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss was posted, calling on the Academy to reverse its plans.

It has since been signed by more than 200 cinematographers, 75 directors, including Martin Scorsese and Alfonso Cuaron; 80 actors, including Bradley Copper, Glenn Close and Emma Stone; as well as members of other branches such as producers, editors and VFX supervisors.

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