Cinematographers Group Decries Oscar Decision To Move Category Off Live Show

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The American Society of Cinematographers is not happy that this year’s Oscar for Best Cinematography will be presented during a commercial break, even though the winner’s speech will be taped and aired later in the broadcast.

“After receiving many comments on this matter from ASC members, I think I speak for many of them in declaring this a most unfortunate decision,” ASC president Kees van Oostrum wrote Tuesday in a letter to his members.

Cinematographers aren’t the only ones effected by the Academy’s decision to try to keep the show under three hours. Oscar presentations to editors, makeup artists and hairstylists, and producers of live-action shorts will also be giving their acceptance speeches during ad breaks and have their taped acceptance speeches aired later in the show.

A spokesperson for the American Cinema Editors had no comment, and reps for the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Local 706 did not respond to request for comment. As of now, the leaders of IATSE’s Cinematographers Guild Local 600 and Editors Guild Local 700 have not filed a complaint.

On Monday, Academy president John Bailey, also member of the organization’s Cinematographers Branch, explained the group’s decision that “last summer the Academy’s Board of Governors committed to airing a three-hour show. I want to reiterate however, that all 24 Academy Award-winning presentations will be included in the broadcast. We believe we have come up with a great way to do this, and keep the show to three hours.

While still honoring the achievements of all 24 awards on the Oscars, four categories – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling – will be presented during commercial breaks, with their winning speeches aired later in the broadcast.”

“The executive committees of six branches,” he added, “generously opted-in to have their awards presented in this slightly edited time frame for this year’s show, and we selected four. In future years, four to six different categories may be selected for rotation, in collaboration with the show producers.”

Several filmmakers including Guillermo del Toro, who directed last year’s Best Picture winner The Shape of Water, and this year’s nominees including Roma‘s Alfonso Cuarón have weighed in on the move.

“Cinematography and editing are probably the ‘elementary particles,’ the primordial components of cinema,” three-time Oscar-winning DP Emmanuel Lubezki wrote on his Instagram page. “It’s an unfortunate decision.”

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