February 15, 2019

The ASC Blasts Academy's Decision to Not Air Cinematography Oscar

ASC Blasts Academy Statement
The ASC has wholly rejected Academy president John Bailey's statement attempting to pacify the situation. 

In a debate that, if it hadn't reached a fever pitch before, has definitely hit a sweltering fever pitch now, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) has stood its ground on the controversial decision to not air the handing out of the Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, and Best Live Action - Short Academy Awards live on its ABC telecast on Sunday, February 24th.

Arguments have been made and open letters have been signed, but unfortunately, no compromise has been reached to give these craftsmen and women their due live on air.

The reason for not including these four awards on the live telecast next weekend? Time constraints, of course! Must get those advertising dollars in and focus on the essential star power apparent throughout the evening...nobody wants to watch a "boring" award being handed out for cinematography!

As a result of this misguided decision, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has just released a statement condemning the Academy's decision to deprive the cinematographers of their moment in the spotlight.

To read the organization's entire rebuttal, scroll down below.

ASC's response to the Academy's Decision to Not Air the Presentation of the Best Cinematography Oscar

"Dear Officers of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences,

Your response to our protest letter of Feb. 13 is unsatisfying and oddly inaccurate.

To state that “No award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners any less than others” is in direct conflict with the plan presented by you to Academy members this past Monday. The act of handing out certain awards during commercial breaks and then, at your discretion, airing this content, is most certainly depicting these categories in a lesser light than those being honored live in the spotlight on the main stage. 

Regarding your concerns of “misinformation” and “inaccurate reporting”: Our protest letter of Feb. 13 was created by a small group of ASC members directly referencing a copy of President Bailey’s Feb. 11 letter, as well as the AMPAS Mission Statement.

There was simply no room for misinterpretation, misrepresentation or inaccuracy. And the media has reported well on this issue and should be commended for airing both sides equally.

The other concern is exactly how the Academy came to this decision. While you have stated that branch members were involved, and the Cinematography Branch “volunteered,” it seems that almost no one knew much about this nor were any of the members at large consulted or allowed to weigh in (vote) in advance of the decision.

Since our Feb. 13 protest letter was sent to you yesterday evening, hundreds of Cinematographers, Directors, Editors, Producers, Actors and those representing every other filmmaking discipline have added their names as signatories. And this growing list is now being continuously updated on the ASC website with the names of new supporters. I urge you to view it, often.

The steadfast support is there to change the decision you’d made because we are the people you represent. We are Academy members, we are filmmakers — the ones who conceive, create, present, and earn our living in the film industry and support the Academy. 

It’s important for the Academy to understand how unprecedented and surprising this decision was. The Academy has done great things for the industry and its members and that is why the shockwave this created sparked such an emotional response. We love and respect this institution and are dedicated to its success.

The mission of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is to represent us and honor our achievements. Please reverse this decision, stand by the mission, and honor all filmmakers in the main broadcast, as the Academy has always done in the past."     

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