A public petition has launched in an attempt to get the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to present all 24 categories during the live Oscars telecast on Sunday, February 14. The Academy has been the subject of backlash since announcing February 11 the four categories that will be presented during commercial breaks and edited back into the category at a later time in the telecast: Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Hairstyling and Makeup, and Best Live Action Short. The decision has sparked outrage from the industry and the moviegoing public at large.
In an online petition launched on Change.org this week, organizer Michael Jolls writes the decision “has been seen as a slap in the face to filmmakers all across the globe.” Over 13,870 people have signed the petition as of this writing and the signatures show no signs of slowing down. The document is even being shared by industry members on social media, including “Watchmen” and “Kong: Skull Island” cinematographer Larry Fong.
“We strongly petition the Academy to find something else to broadcast during the commercial breaks,” the petition reads. “Since the failure of retaining your host this year – the removal of these awards adds insult to injury. We demand that ABC and The Academy find another way to shorten the broadcast.”
The petition is far from the only protest being thrown the Academy’s way. Earlier this week, an open letter was sent to AMPAS condemning the decision to move the categories and signed by dozens of the biggest directors, actors, and cinematographers in the business, among other crafts people. Signees include Christopher Nolan, Brad Pitt, Martin Scorsese, Damien Chazelle, Dee Rees, and more.
The open letter states: “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.”
Oscar producer Donna Gigliotti reacted to the open letter by assuring the industry none of the moved speeches will be cut from the telecast. As long as the winners of these four categories adhere to the 90-second rule (in which every winner has 90 seconds from the moment their name is announced to accept their award and give a speech), then their full speeches will air later in the telecast unedited. All four categories will be live-streamed online as they are announced.