ESC

Scorsese, Tarantino and a Bunch of Other Filmmakers are Insulted

The Oscars haven’t mattered since people started streaming movies. An awards show where winners are chosen by around 7,000 old people that call themselves the Academy is kind of dumb anyway. The idea that the opinions of these people carry more weight than the average moviegoer just because they’ve been in the industry for a decade is laughable. That’s why every year you have these movies the Academy calls a “cinematic masterpiece” that you sit down to watch only to fall asleep 15 minutes into it because it’s so god damn boring.

So I really don’t understand why everyone is mad that this year the Oscars is planning to present four awards categories during commercial breaks. Directors like Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese and Quentino Tarantino; cinematographers including Roger Deakins, Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubeski and Robert Richardson; editors Tom Cross, William Goldenberg and Mary Jo Markey; and additional past and present Oscar nominees and winners from those branches and others including production design, sound and VFX, have all signed an open letter calling the decision “nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession.”

An Open Letter to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and The Producers of the 91st Annual Academy Awards Broadcast:

On Monday, February 11, 2019, John Bailey, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, announced that this year’s Oscar presentations for Best Cinematography — along with Film Editing, Live Action Short and Makeup and Hairstyling — will not be broadcast live, but rather presented during a commercial break. This decision was made to reduce the length of the show from four hours to three. The vocal response from our peers and the immediate backlash from industry leaders over the Academy’s decision makes it clear that it’s not too late to have this decision reversed.

The Academy was founded in 1927 to recognize 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 show’s director, Glenn Weiss, has stated that he will determine what “emotionally resonant” moments from the four winners’ speeches will be selected to air later in the broadcast. The show will cut any additional comment from presenters, as well as any recitation of the nominees as they see fit.

We consider this abbreviation and potential censorship to run contrary to the spirit of the Academy’s mission.

Since its inception, the Academy Awards telecast has been altered over time to keep the format fresh, but never by sacrificing the integrity of the Academy’s original mission.

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.

To quote our colleague Seth Rogen, “What better way to celebrate achievements in film than to NOT publicly honor the people whose job it is to literally film things.”

I’ll spare you the lengthy list of signatures. But I will say I get where these guys are coming from. Everyone wants to pat themselves on the back. If it were up to these guys, Hollywood would gather around each year in a literal circle jerk. Do these people realize no one watches the Oscars anyway? The only way the general public will even know the Oscars happened is if that 12-year-old ASMR YouTuber whispers the winners to them the next day.

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Then don’t film the oscars. Sorry, but the average movie goer really could care less with most of the categories. The ceremony is for the Hollywood community. The show filmed on TV is for the viewer. That’s why they always say what the nielson score was or whatever after the broadcast.

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