The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will present four Oscars – for Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Live Action Short – during the commercial breaks of the 91st Academy Awards ceremony on February 24, Variety reported. The speeches of the winners in these categories will be aired later in the telecast. The live stream of the ceremony on Oscar.com will, however, show the awards presentation in real time. (The livestream is available only in American markets.)
Academy President John Bailey announced the categories to be omitted from the telecast in an email to Academy members on Monday, Variety said. “Viewing patterns for the Academy Awards are changing quickly in our current multi-media world, and our show must also evolve to successfully continue promoting motion pictures to a worldwide audience,” Bailey wrote. “This has been our core mission since we were established 91 years ago – and it is the same today.”
At a recent luncheon to honour the nominees, the potential winners were reportedly told that they would have just 90 seconds from the time their names were announced to reach the stage and finish their speeches.
The Academy had announced in 2018 that the telecast of the 2019 ceremony would be curtailed to three hours, following dipping television ratings (viewership for the 2018 ceremony reportedly hit an all-time low). The Academy had informed its members at the time that some of the 24 awards would be presented during commercial breaks, but the categories had not been identified at the time. The Academy had also announced a “Best Popular Film” category, but its implementation was postponed after widespread criticism.
The Academy’s decision was widely criticised on Twitter, especially by filmmakers and journalists. Guillermo del Toro, who won Best Director and Best Picture last year for The Shape of Water, pointed out that “cinematography and editing are at the heart of the craft”.
A Twitter user wondered whether commercial factors had influenced the Academy’s decision. Citing figures from Box Office Mojo, he said that the cumulative collections of films in these four categories were the lowest in the technical categories (excluding the awards for acting, direction and screenplay and best picture).
An American journalist-filmmaker also pointed out that John Bailey is a cinematographer. His credits include American Gigolo (1980), The Big Chill (1983) and When in Rome (2010).
Nominees for Best Cinematography include Lukasz Zal (Cold War), Caleb Deschanel (Never Look Away), Robbie Ryan (The Favourite), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma) and Matthew Libatique (A Star Is Born).
Barry Alexander Brown (Blackkklansman), Yorgos Mavropsaridis (The Favourite), Patrick J Don Vito (Green Book), John Ottman (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Hank Corwin (Vice) will compete for the film editing award.
The nominees for Best Live Action Short are Detainment by Vincent Lambe, Jeremy Comte’s Fauve, Marguerite by Marianne Farley, Mother by Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Guy Nattiv’s Skin.
Ali Abbas’s Swedish fantasy film Border, Josie Rourke’s Mary Queen of Scots, and Vice will compete for the Makeup and Hairstyling prize.