Bowing to a backlash that had threatened to engulf an already blunder-plagued Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday reversed its decision to present four awards during the commercial breaks of this year’s Oscar broadcast.
All 24 categories will be shown live, after all, at the 91st Academy Awards on February 24, the academy announced in a statement. On Monday, the academy had said that the winning speeches for cinematography, film editing, makeup and hairstyling and live-action short would be aired in a shortened, taped segment during the broadcast.
“Nine days until the showtime, still tweaking the script” the Academy tweeted on Friday.
The academy did not address whether the change meant extending the show’s length, which organisers have said would be reduced to three hours.
The academy’s move to strike awards from the live broadcast was fiercely contested by many of this year’s Oscar nominees, including “Roma” director Alfonso Cuaron and “BlacKkKlansman” filmmaker Spike Lee. The American Society of Cinematographers on Wednesday issued an open-letter to the academy, signed by Martin Scorsese, Brad Pitt and others, calling the plans an insult to the cinematic arts.
“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,” the letter read.