Cinematographers Call Academy Oscar Broadcast Explanation “Unsatisfying” In New Letter

American Society of Cinematographers

The American Society of Cinematographers has responded to Wednesday’s explanation letter from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences about the Oscars plan to award four categories during the Oscarcast’s commercial breaks, terming it “unsatisfying and oddly inaccurate.”

Cinematography is among the categories — along with Editing, Makeup & Hairstyling and Live-Action Shorts — whose awards are being truncated to fit into a three-hour ABC broadcast on February 24. The decision by the Academy has drawn widespread protest from its members in all branches of the Academy upon its revelation.

The cinematographers posted an open letter to the Academy on Wednesday evening, which prompted the Academy’s letter later that night. AMPAS said each of the categories’ nominees will be aired, along with the winners; speeches. The Academy will also be livestreaming during those commercial breaks, so viewers can watch live online along with those in the Dolby Theatre.

The signatures on the letter, hosted on the ASC website, have grown exponentially since it first was published.

Today’s cinematographers letter took issue with the explanations laid out in the Academy response. Its main point: “The act of handing out certain awards during commercial breaks and then, at your discretion, airing this content, is most certainly depicting these categories in a lesser light than those being honored live in the spotlight on the main stage.”

The latest letter also took issue with the Academy’s contention that “misinformation” and “inaccurate reporting” was to blame.

Our protest letter of Feb. 13 was created by a small group of ASC members directly referencing a copy of President Bailey’s Feb. 11 letter, as well as the AMPAS Mission Statement. There was simply no room for misinterpretation, misrepresentation or inaccuracy. And the media has reported well on this issue and should be commended for airing both sides equally.”

The letter went on to claim that “almost no one” from the Cinematography branch knew about the plans, “nor were any of the members at large consulted or allowed to weigh in (vote) in advance of the decision.”

A growing number of “Cinematographers, Directors, Editors, Producers, Actors and those representing every other filmmaking discipline have added their names as signatories” to the protest letter. And this growing list is now being continuously updated on the ASC website with the names of new supporters. I urge you to view it, often.”

The letter concluded with a call to change the decision because “we are the people you represent.  We are Academy members, we are filmmakers — the ones who conceive, create, present, and earn our living in the film industry and support the Academy.”

Here is today’s letter in full:

Response of Cinematographers to the Academy’s Feb. 13 Letter

Los Angeles, Feb. 14

Dear Officers of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences,

Your response to our protest letter of Feb. 13 is unsatisfying and oddly inaccurate.

To state that “No award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners any less than others” is in direct conflict with the plan presented by you to Academy members this past Monday. The act of handing out certain awards during commercial breaks and then, at your discretion, airing this content, is most certainly depicting these categories in a lesser light than those being honored live in the spotlight on the main stage.

Regarding your concerns of “misinformation” and “inaccurate reporting”: Our protest letter of Feb. 13 was created by a small group of ASC members directly referencing a copy of President Bailey’s Feb. 11 letter, as well as the AMPAS Mission Statement.

There was simply no room for misinterpretation, misrepresentation or inaccuracy. And the media has reported well on this issue and should be commended for airing both sides equally.

The other concern is exactly how the Academy came to this decision. While you have stated that branch members were involved, and the Cinematography Branch “volunteered,” it seems that almost no one knew much about this nor were any of the members at large consulted or allowed to weigh in (vote) in advance of the decision.

Since our Feb. 13 protest letter was sent to you yesterday evening, hundreds of
Cinematographers, Directors, Editors, Producers, Actors and those representing every
other filmmaking discipline have added their names as signatories. And this growing list is now being continuously updated on the ASC website with the names of new supporters. I urge you to view it, often.

The steadfast support is there to change the decision you’d made because we are the people you represent.  are Academy members, we are filmmakers — the ones who conceive, create, present, and earn our living in the film industry and support the Academy.

It’s important for the Academy to understand how unprecedented and surprising this decision was. The Academy has done great things for the industry and its members and that is why the shockwave this created sparked such an emotional response. We love and respect this institution and are dedicated to its success.

The mission of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is to represent us and honor our achievements. Please reverse this decision, stand by the mission, and honor all filmmakers in the main broadcast, as the Academy has always done in the past.

UTA also issued a statement via its social media today on the decision.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/02/cinematographers-call-academy-oscar-broadcast-explanation-unsatisfying-1202558055/