By Trevor Jones
The annual Academy Awards has suffered a decrease in viewership in the past few years and the current solution to restore popularity has many filmmakers disgruntled.
Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that they would not be airing four awards live in order to keep the program’s runtime at around three hours. The list includes Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling. The winning speeches of the artists will still be featured but in an edited format. With this decision, the Academy has made it abundantly clear that they prioritize ratings (or $$$) over the complete acknowledgment of artists whose work literally makes a motion picture a motion picture. Aspects of cinema like screenwriting and acting originate from theater and literature while editing and cinematography are the core of the visual art form. Alfonso Cuarón, the writer/director/cinematographer/producer/editor of Roma, eloquently summarized the frustration that many are feeling with this tweet:
In response to the severe backlash, the Academy offered a contradictory statement that claims “no award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others.” More than 300 filmmakers have signed an open letter calling for the Academy to reverse the new format and I wholeheartedly agree. It is an insult to those who work countless hours in order to enrich movies with the magic that cannot be replicated elsewhere.