The Oscars aren’t having a great PR run over the past year, to put things mildly. After Kevin Hart’s emphatic exit, no one wants to emcee the upcoming festivities, which will (weirdly) go host-less, months after the Academy walked back their wildly unpopular idea to add a Most Popular movie category. Now, the Oscars are disappointing previous winners by deciding to relegate four awards to being presented during the commercial time of the upcoming Feb. 24 broadcast. Director Guillermo del Toro is displeased, and he’s not alone.
Per Deadline, these categories — Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Live Action Short, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling — are no longer receiving air time. Although they will be included for live streaming purposes, this move is turning into the Academy’s latest (backfiring) attempt to make the broadcast more watchable. Yes, it’s true that the Oscars runtime often feels far too long, but nope, this isn’t going over well. Del Toro, whose The Shape Of Water scored Best Picture and Best Director in 2018 (and inspired a dildo line), expressed strong (but respectful) displeasure with Cinematography getting the shaft.
“If I may: I would not presume to suggest what categories to cut during the Oscars show but – Cinematography and Editing are at the very heart of our craft,” he tweeted. “They are not inherited from a theatrical tradition or a literary tradition: they are cinema itself.”
(Del Toro has deleted this tweet and added a further explanation, which we’ll discuss at the bottom of this post.)
Del Toro was joined by Alfonso Cuarón, the first Latin American filmmaker to win Best Director and helmer of Netflix’s Roma, which is in the running for 10 Oscar categories this year. His tweeted protest got literal: “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.
IndieWire’s Steve Bruin tweeted what might be the perfect reaction to the Academy’s latest change — if this had happened last year, we’d have been deprived of a Matthew McConaughey moment at the mic.
ABC will broadcast the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24. Given that the run-up to the show is already messy, they might as well just bring back streaking.
UPDATE – 1:00 pm EST: Del Toro has tweeted some more, after the Academy clarified to him that they’re implementing a “voluntary rotation” for awards to be presented during commercial breaks. They hope that this will be a “seamless” process that viewers won’t notice.