Oscars 2019: Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee criticise Academy in open letter

Almost 100 filmmakers – including Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee – have signed an open letter to the Academy of Motion Pictures criticising their decision to present four awards during advert breaks in the Oscars ceremony.

On Monday (11 January), the awards body announced that live-action shorts, make-up and hairstyling, cinematography and editing would all be handed out during breaks in the telecast.

There was immediate outrage online from former Oscar-winners such as Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron, who said the move was disrespectful to workers in those disciplines.

The open letter, also signed by Damien Chazelle, Seth Rogan and Ang Lee, reads: ”The Academy was founded in 1927 to recognise 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.

”When the recognition of those responsible for the creation of outstanding cinema is being diminished by the very institution whose purpose it is to protect it, then we are no longer upholding the spirit of the Academy’s promise to celebrate film as a collaborative art form.”

Responding to the outrage, the Academy said the awards would not be “presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others”.

Blaming “inaccurate reporting and social media posts”, they added that the speeches from those winners in the four categories would be broadcast during the ceremony. They also claim that members of each branch not being shown volunteered to not be televised live.

For future ceremonies, four to six categories will be selected on rotation not be shown live, with this year’s categories being exempt in 2020.

The 91st Academy Awards will take place on 24 February in Los Angeles. The Favourite and Roma lead the nominations with 10 each.