The backlash against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences continues, and increasingly bigger names are joining the fray. After announcing that four awards would be bestowed during commercial breaks at the Feb. 24 Oscars, there was immediate pushback from those who said it was insulting to recipients in the categories of cinematography, film editing, live action short, and makeup and hairstyling to pull those awards from the live broadcast to save time. Now, an open letter signed by hundreds of directors, actors, cinematographers, and filmmakers is piling even more pressure onto the Academy, saying the group is "relegating these essential crafts to lesser status," per NBC News.
The names popping up in the letter, now on the American Society of Cinematographers site, represent a veritable who's who of Hollywood: directors like Martin Scorsese, the Coen brothers, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Peter Jackson, and the two Spikes (Lee and Jonze), as well as actors such as Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, and Kate Winslet. "We consider this abbreviation and potential censorship to run contrary to the spirit of the Academy's mission," the letter notes, ending with a snarky quote from actor Seth Rogen: "What better way to celebrate achievements in film than to NOT publicly honor the people whose job it is to literally film things." The Academy has issued a clarification, per NBC, insisting there's been "inaccurate reporting" and that "no award category ... will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others." See who else signed the letter here. (Read more Oscars stories.)