Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Brad Pitt, and a ton of others are not happy with The Academy Awards' decision to present four Oscars during the commercial breaks this year. It was recently announced that the awards for cinematography, film editing, live-action short, and makeup and hairstyling are all going to be awarded off air, which influenced some heavy hitters in the entertainment industry to pen an open letter to the academy. The move is considered to be an "insult," in the letter.
The 91st Academy Awards is less than two weeks away and it has found itself in hot water once again. An open letter to the Academy keeps gaining signatures and has an impressive amount as of this writing. Directors including Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Denis Villeneuve, Joss Whedon, and Ron Howard are just a few of the names added to the list so far. On the acting side of things, Jon Hamm, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Jude Law, and many others added their signatures next to cinematographers, and filmmakers calling on the Academy to broadcast all of the awards.
In addition to the open letter from the entertainment industry, there is now a fan petition going around that has gathered nearly 10,000 signatures to make the Academy broadcast all of the awards during the ceremony. Since there is no host, it's expected that the show will run shorter this year, which makes the decision to announce the four awards during the commercial breaks even stranger. In any event, people are trying spread the word about the issue. You can read part of the open letter below.
"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. When the recognition of those responsible for the creation of outstanding cinema is being diminished by the very institution whose purpose it is to protect it, then we are no longer upholding the spirit of the Academy's promise to celebrate film as a collaborative art form."
The Academy responded to the open letter earlier this week with its own letter, which assures 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 Academy has already said it will show the winners at some point during the telecast, though when and how that will happen has not been specified. The winners will also be announced during the live streaming feed, which doesn't contain commercials. The academy is hoping this makes it a more interactive viewing experience. As it stands, it does not look like the Academy is going to change their mind.
The 91st Academy Awards hit a speed bump late last year when they invited Kevin Hart to host. Within a day of the announcement, Hart had resigned due to some unearthed tweets, leaving the show without a host. At the beginning of this year, it looked like Hart was going to come back, but it fell apart again and the Academy has gone with the decision to go without a host this year. We'll have to wait and see if they decide to change their mind about the four categories and the commercial breaks. You can read the open letter in full, along with all of the signatures over at The American Society of Cinematographers.