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James Cameron, Kathleen Kennedy and others urge Academy to restore original Oscars format

This is not the first time that the Academy has tried to remove certain categories out of the live broadcast. In 2018, the AMPAS had announced that four Oscar awards would be presented during commercial breaks for the 91st Academy Awards.

PTI Reported by: PTI New Delhi Published on: March 10, 2022 16:53 IST
Celebs urge Academy to restore original Oscars format
Image Source : FILE IMAGE

Celebs urge Academy to restore original Oscars format

A host of high profile Hollywood personalities, including filmmaker James Cameron, producer Kathleen Kennedy and composer John Williams, have urged the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to undo the recently announced changes to the Oscars format.

The Academy last month had announced changes to the annual award ceremony when it revealed that winners for eight categories will be presented off air during the 2022 Oscars, a move that received instant backlash from the artistic community and the public.

As per the changes, the 94th Academy Awards will begin an hour earlier to present eight awards categories -- Documentary Short, Film Editing, Make-up and Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design, Animated Short, Live Action Short, and Sound -- before the live telecast starts. 

On Wednesday, a letter was sent to Academy President David Rubin, urging him to reverse the changes so that all 23 categories could be presented during the live telecast of the Oscars.

"For nearly a century, the Academy Awards has represented the gold standard in recognizing and honouring all of the essential crafts in filmmaking.

Now, as we approach the Oscars' 100th year, we are deeply troubled that this gold standard is being tarnished by valuing some filmmaking disciplines over others and relegating those others to the status of second-class citizen," the letter read.

It stressed that artistic crafts like music scoring, film editing, production design, makeup, hairstyling, and sound are critical to the art of filmmaking and will always deserve the same respect and recognition as crafts like acting, directing, and visual effects.

"To diminish any of these individual categories in the pursuit of ratings and short-term profits does irreparable damage to the Academy’s standing as impartial arbiters and responsible stewards of our industry’s most important awards," the letter added.

Referring to the dwindling ratings of past Oscars ceremonies, the letter further said that "seeking new audiences" by making the telecast more entertaining was a "laudable and important goal" but it cannot be done at the expense of demeaning the very crafts that make the art of filmmaking worthy of celebration.

The signatories of the letter include prominent names from the music field, including Howard Shore, Dave Grusin, Alexandre Desplat, Steven Price, Hildur Guðnadóttir, John Corigliano, Tan Dun, Nicholas Britell, Terence Blanchard, Thomas Newman, James Newton Howard, David Newman, John Powell, Alan Silvestri and Ramin Djawadi.

This is not the first time that the Academy has tried to remove certain categories out of the live broadcast. 

In 2018, the AMPAS had announced that four Oscar awards would be presented during commercial breaks for the 91st Academy Awards.

At the time, filmmakers Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro were among those who had criticised the organisation for the decision. Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall will host the 94th edition of the Academy Awards, which will be held on March 27.

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