Spike Lee is among a group of directors and cinematographers who are putting the Academy on blast for its decision not to air the Academy Awards presentations of cinematography, live-action short, hair and makeup and editing.
“Since its inception, the Academy Awards telecast has been altered over time to keep the format fresh, but never by sacrificing the integrity of the Academy’s original mission,” states the group in a joint letter. “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.”
According to Variety, those who joined Lee in protesting the Academy’s decision include Quentin Tarantino, Roger Deakins, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Alexander Payne, Joel Coen, Ron Howard, Spike Jonze, Damien Chazelle, Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese and others in the directing and cinematography field. Actors who also signed include Kate Winslet, Holly Hunter, Paul Giamatti, Emma Stone, Jeff Bridges and Frances McDormand.
The Academy decided not to televise portions of the Academy Awards Monday. Instead, the Academy announced that the awards would be presented during commercial breaks to shorten the telecast to three hours from its current four. The decision immediately sparked outrage in the film industry, causing yet another PR fire for the Academy to quell.
This year has been one of the more tumultuous years for the Academy telecast. First, a decision to create a “Most Popular Film” category was scrapped after widespread criticism. Secondly, Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting this year’s telecast after he entered a firestorm surrounding past homophobic tweets.
Photo: Actors Will Smith (L) and Wesley Snipes (R) pose with director Spike Lee (2R) after Lee was presented with an honorary Oscar award, during the 7th annual Governors Awards ceremony presented by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California on November 14, 2015. ROBY BECK/AFP/Getty Images