IATSE president Matt Loeb has joined the chorus of complaints about the upcoming Oscar telecast, demanding that the Academy “reverse course” and reinstate cinematographers, editors and makeup artists and hairstylists to the full Oscar program.
Last week, the Academy announced that the Oscars for those three categories and live-action shorts would be presented during commercial breaks, though the winners’ acceptance speeches will be taped and aired later in the broadcast. Examples of their work, however, will not be shown during the show.
“By denying four categories – three of them below-the-line – their equal share of television coverage, the Academy displayed a complete absence of the kind of creativity their awards celebrate,” Loeb said today via Twitter. “It is an insult to the hardworking women and men of all below-the-line crafts to push these nominees and winners out of the spotlight. We demand that the Academy reverse course and treat all categories with the respect they deserve.”
Loeb’s tweet, which goofed up the nomenclature for make-up artists and hair stylists, also said, “IATSE members, including cinematographers, editors, and hair and makeup stylists, are the core of any motion picture production. They create the iconic scenes and looks that make this medium so memorable. Without their work, none of the most-beloved films in Hollywood history would have been possible.”
IATSE Local 706 is called the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild.
The American Cinematographers Society isn’t happy with the Academy’s move either. On Tuesday, ASC president Kees van Oostrum called it an “unfortunate decision.” The Academy, he said in a message to his members, “is an important institution that represents our artistry in the eyes of the world. Since the organization’s inception 91 years ago, the Academy Awards have honored cinematographers’ talent, craft and contributions to the filmmaking process, but we cannot quietly condone this decision without protest.”
On Monday, Academy president John Bailey, a member of the Academy’s Cinematographers Branch, explained 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, Alfonso Cuarón and three-time Oscar-winning director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki, have weighed in in opposition to the move. “Cinematography and editing are probably the ‘elementary particles,’ the primordial components of cinema,” Lubezki wrote on his Instagram page. “It’s an unfortunate decision.”