The Oscars telecast is too long and everybody knows it. Some would prefer a half-hour shaved off, others much more, but very few viewers seem to think it’s perfect the way it is every year or could stand to be longer. On Monday, however, the Academy unveiled its latest attempt at shortening the show–handing out awards for cinematography, editing, live-action short, and makeup during a commercial break–and the news is not going over very well.
Legions of cinephiles are venting their outrage on Twitter. As this thread from “film archaeologist” Rhett Bartlett helpfully demonstrates, relegating these awards to a planned highlight reel toward the end of the telecast might rob viewers of dramatic or important moments. (For example, cinematography godhead and veteran runner-up Roger Deakins finally won last year, for Blade Runner 2049.)
It’s not just fans and students of film who are upset. Several famous filmmakers are condemning the decision on and off Twitter. And truly, who can blame them? Any director worth her salt would do well to have an editor or cinematographer know she’s willing to go to bat for them.
Below are some of the strongest reactions from famous filmmakers to emerge yet.
If I may: I would not presume to suggest what categories to cut during the Oscars show but – Cinematography and Editing are at the very heart of our craft. They are not inherited from a theatrical tradition or a literary tradition: they are cinema itself.
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) February 12, 2019
I couldn't agree more. If we are here to celebrate the craft and medium, its hard to imagine putting these categories down a tier from any others. https://t.co/poGUUeOsRl
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) February 12, 2019
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
What better way to celebrate achievements in film than to not publicly honor the people’s who’s job it is to literally film things.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) February 12, 2019
Editing is filmmaking. Say it ain’t so, Oscars.
— Jason Reitman (@JasonReitman) February 12, 2019
Gross decision. https://t.co/25M5lQQ1u4
— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) February 11, 2019
Although the Academy insists that these four awards will definitely be handed out in the normal fashion next year, with four to six other categories getting short shrift instead, perhaps they will reconsider the decision for this year’s telecast if the backlash persists.