The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the annual awards show commonly known as the Oscars, has been facing severe criticism this year for the number of “cancelled announcements” they have conjured since August 2018.
The latest of those very public organization mistakes on behalf of the Academy is one that has garnered much deserved backlash from the entirety of the film making industry worldwide.
The disastrous decision was to prevent the airing of the presentation for four (4) awards during the Oscar broadcast. The four awards for Cinematography, Film-editing, Live-Action Short, Make-up and Hair styling would have been handed during the commercial breaks and would be later aired in a shortened, taped segment during the telecast.
Shortly after this announcement, myriads of actors, directors, cinematographers, editors, critics and performers heavily criticized the Academy.
Academy award winning directors Alfonso Cuarón, who’s nominated again this year for ‘Roma’, and Guillermo del Toro, who won for last year’s ‘The Shape of Water’ took to twitter to express their thoughts on what perhaps felt like an insult to the entire industry.
In the history of CINEMA, masterpieces have existed without sound, without color, without a story, without actors and without music. No one single film has ever existed without CINEMAtography and without editing.
— Alfonso Cuaron (@alfonsocuaron) February 12, 2019
Reposting, revised: I would not presume to suggest what categories should occur during commercials on Oscars night, but, please: Cinematography & Editing are at the very heart of our craft. They are not inherited from a theatrical or literary tradition: they are cinema itself.
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) February 13, 2019
Two days after the initial statement was released, he American Society of Cinematographers a response signed by numerous Hollywood icons such as directors Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino and actors including George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro who joined the following day.
Seeing the obvious repercussions they would’ve faced had they continued with their proposed plan, the Academy backtracked on Febuary 15 and confirmed that it shall broadcast all 24 categories live as it normally does.
This incident, however, is only one of many that have occurred throughout the last few months where the Academy has “tweaked its script”.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 15, 2019
In August last year, the official account on twitter revealed a new category for “achievement in popular film.”
A move plenty considered an insult as well, as it implies that film’s that are popular are not actually up to the standard of garnering a Best Picture nomination.
Change is coming to the #Oscars. Here's what you need to know:
– A new category is being designed around achievement in popular film.
– We've set an earlier airdate for 2020: mark your calendars for February 9.
– We're planning a more globally accessible, three-hour telecast. pic.twitter.com/oKTwjV1Qv9
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 8, 2018
The heat cause by this was even more intense due to the suggestions of several twitter users who implied that the Oscars might be trying to eliminate Marvel’s Black Panther from being nominated due to prejudice and not actual merit.
Although, after Black Panther’s nomination for best picture was announced, a number of cinephiles thought of isuch nomination could clearly be seen as a tactic on behalf of the Academy simply to avoid being accused of racism.
Black Panther wasn’t nominated for Best Picture due to its merit as a film. However, I also don’t believe that it was nominated in order to appease some socially progressive agenda.
The Oscars’ ratings are plummeting. Marvel is popular. They’re trying to reach general audiences.
— Hi, I Think I’m Real (@thinkimreal) January 24, 2019
The problem was with the “Popular” tag: I’ve always thought that a “Global Impact” award would have been an appropriate and welcome addition to the Oscars, enabling due recognition for the likes of Black Panther, without it being seen as a Best Picture consolation prize.
— Jason Brautigam (@DizzyJB) February 16, 2019
Eventually, the Academy relented, with CEO Dawn Hudson claiming the board must “recognize the need for further discussion with our members,”
Needless to say, the Academy is definitely going through a rough time this year, and not having a host seems to be the least of their problems.
Despite being enthusiastic to host the show, comedian Kevin Hart was relieved of his duty after the surfacing of some of his old homophobic tweets.
After this PR disaster, the co-producers of the Oscars, Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss, decide on going forward without a host, deciding that the show would revolve around A-list presenters instead.