Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee are among the filmmakers to put their names to an open letter criticising the Academy’s decision to present four awards during advert breaks in the Oscars ceremony.
It was announced on Monday that the Oscars for live-action shorts, make-up and hairstyling, cinematography and editing would be handed out during breaks in the 91st Academy Awards telecast.
The move sparked an outcry and accusations that the Academy was disrespecting workers in those disciplines by not airing their presentations.
In response, the Academy said the winners’ speeches would be shown later in the broadcast.
On Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter posted an open letter from some of the biggest filmmakers in Hollywood to the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the producers of the show, urging them to reverse their decision.
It states: “The Academy was founded in 1927 to recognise and uphold excellence in the cinematic arts, inspire imagination and help connect the world through the universal medium of motion pictures.
“Unfortunately, we have drifted from this mission in our pursuit of presenting entertainment rather than in presenting a celebration of our art form and the people behind it.
“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.”
The letter is signed by nearly 100 filmmakers. Scorsese, Lee and Tarantino are joined by other leading directors such as Damien Chazelle, Seth Rogan and Ang Lee.
The statement concludes: “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 issued a swift response. In a statement, it said no award category would be “presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others”.
It then went on to blame “inaccurate reporting and social media posts” for a “chain of misinformation that has understandably upset many Academy members”.
All 24 award categories will be presented on stage at the Dolby Theatre and included in the broadcast, the statement said.
The four categories that will not be shown live were volunteered by their branches, according to the Academy, and all winners’ speeches will be shown.
And for future ceremonies, four to six categories will be selected for rotation to not be shown live, though this year’s categories will be exempt in 2020.
The Oscars telecast will be broadcast to millions of viewers in more than 225 countries and territories around the world.
The 91st Academy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on February 24. The Favourite and Roma lead the nominations with 10 each.