Oscars 2019: All awards will be shown live after backlash

Cinematographer Roger A. Deakins (R) accepts Best Cinematography for 'Blade Runner 2049' from actor Sandra Bullock onstage during the 90th Annual Academy AwardsImage copyright
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Image caption

Roger Deakins (r), who won his first Oscar for cinematography last year after 14 nominations, criticised the initial decision

The organisers of the Oscars have reversed an earlier decision to hand out four awards during ad breaks after facing a major backlash.

The presentations for live action short, cinematography, editing and make-up and hair were to be streamed online in an effort to shorten this year’s TV broadcast on 24 February.

Dozens of directors, cinematographers and actors had criticised the decision.

Organisers said they had heard the “feedback” and changed their mind.

A statement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said: “All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24.”

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This is not the first controversy to hit this year’s awards ceremony – the Academy had decided to introduce a new popular film category but decided to postpone it after a backlash.

The show will also have no main host after actor Kevin Hart pulled out following controversy over homophobic tweets.

What was the issue?

The Academy emailed its members on 11 February to say that, in order to keep the show down to three hours, they would present four awards during commercial breaks.

Previous ceremonies have gone on for more than four hours and last year’s broadcast had an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers.

Prominent figures in the film industry objected, including Russell Crowe who called it “a fundamentally stupid decision”.

Double Oscar winner Alfonso CuarĂ³n, whose film Roma is nominated for 10 Oscars this year including best cinematography, was one of the first to object.

Image Copyright @alfonsocuaron

Twitter post by @alfonsocuaron: In the history of CINEMA, masterpieces have existed without sound, without color, without a story, without actors and without music. No one single film has ever existed without CINEMAtography and without editing.Image Copyright @alfonsocuaron

Spike Lee, whose film BlacKkKlansman is up for six Oscars this year, wrote to the LA Times along with his editor Barry Alexander Brown.

“Without cinematographers and film editors, I would be lost, wandering in the cinema wilderness,” he wrote.

Before reversing its decision, the Academy had tried to reassure its members that no award category “will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others”.

The ceremony will be live streamed for the first time this year. The winning speeches for the four categories in question would have been aired later in the TV broadcast in an edited form.