An Open Letter to AMPAS and the Producers of the 91st Annual Academy Awards Broadcast

On Monday, February 11, 2019,  John Bailey, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, announced that this year’s Oscar presentations for Best Cinematography — along with Film Editing, Live Action Short and Makeup and Hairstyling — will not be broadcast live, but rather presented during a commercial break. This decision was made to reduce the length of the show from four hours to three. The vocal response from our peers and the immediate backlash from industry leaders over the Academy’s decision makes it clear that it’s not too late to have this decision reversed. 

The Academy was founded in 1927 to recognize 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.     

The show’s director, Glenn Weiss, has stated that he will determine what “emotionally resonant” moments from the four winners’ speeches will be selected to air later in the broadcast. The show will cut any additional comment from presenters, as well as any recitation of the nominees as they see fit.

We consider this abbreviation and potential censorship to run contrary to the spirit of the Academy’s mission. 

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.

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. 

To quote our colleague 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.”

Signed,

Cinematographers

  • Thomas Ackerman
  • Barry Ackroyd
  • Javier Aguirresarobe
  • Gonzalo Amat
  • Fernando Argüelles
  • Katelin Arizmendi
  • Paul Atkins
  • Ashley Barron
  • Gary Baum
  • Bojan Bazelli
  • Dion Beebe
  • Bill Bennett
  • Gabriel Beristain
  • Sean Bobbitt
  • Oliver Bokelberg
  • Russell Boyd
  • Natasha Braier
  • Vance Burberry
  • Frank B. Byers
  • Patrick Cady
  • Antonio Calvache
  • Rodney Charters
  • Enrique Chediak
  • Christopher Chomyn
  • James Chressanthis
  • T.C. Christensen
  • Curtis Clark
  • Christophe Collette
  • Jack Cooperman
  • Dean Cundey
  • Oliver Curtis
  • John Daly
  • David Darby
  • Roger Deakins
  • Benoit Delhomme
  • Frankie DeMarco
  • Peter Deming
  • Jim Denault
  • Vincent De Paula
  • Caleb Deschanel
  • George Spiro Dibie
  • Billy Dickson
  • Mark Doering-Powell
  • Todd A. Dos Reis
  • James Drake
  • Stuart Dryburgh
  • Bert Dunk
  • John Dykstra
  • Mike Eley
  • Robert Elswit
  • Eduardo Fierro
  • Gavin Finney
  • John C. Flinn III
  • Mauro Fiore
  • Larry Fong
  • Markus Förderer
  • Crille Forsberg
  • Ron Fortunato
  • Greig Fraser
  • Jonathan Freeman
  • James Friend
  • Alex Funke
  • Steve Gainer
  • Dejan Georgevich
  • Dana Gonzales
  • Nathaniel Goodman
  • David Greene
  • Alexander Gruszynski
  • David R. Hardberger
  • Rob Hardy
  • Gregg Heschong
  • David Higgs
  • Henner Hofmann
  • Adam Holender
  • Tom Houghton
  • Angus Hudson
  • Paul Hughen
  • Shane Hurlbut
  • Ruben Impens
  • Peter James
  • Johnny E. Jensen
  • Matthew Jensen
  • Tor Johansen
  • Shelly Johnson
  • Janusz Kaminski
  • Adam Kane
  • Stephen M. Katz
  • Nina Kellgrin
  • Darius Khondji
  • David Klein
  • Nic Knowland
  • Ellen Kuras
  • Joseph Labisi
  • Ed Lachman
  • Jacek Laskus
  • Patti Lee
  • Robert Legato
  • John Leonetti
  • Philippe Le Sourd
  • Peter Levy
  • Matthew Libatique
  • Karl Walter Lindenlaub
  • Jimmy Lindsey
  • Emmanuel Lubezki
  • Glen Macpherson
  • Paul Maibaum
  • Constantine Makris
  • Mihai Mălaimare Jr.
  • Denis Maloney
  • Isidore Mankofsky
  • Anthony Dod Mantle
  • Todd Martin
  • Steve Mason
  • Clark Mathis
  • Michael McDonough
  • Seamus McGarvey
  • Robert Mclachlan
  • Suki Medencevic
  • Chris Menges
  • Peter Menzies Jr.
  • Oona Menges
  • Erik Messerschmidt
  • Paul Meyers
  • Sion Michel
  • Anastas Michos
  • Gregory Middleton
  • Dan Mindel
  • Charles Minsky
  • Claudio Miranda
  • George Mooradian
  • Reed Morano
  • Polly Morgan
  • Rachel Morrison
  • Peter Moss
  • David Moxness
  • M. David Mullen
  • Guillermo Navarro
  • James Neihouse
  • Michael Negrin
  • Bill Neil
  • John Newby
  • Sam Nicholson
  • Crescenzo Notarile
  • David B. Nowell
  • Jules O'Loughlin
  • Thomas Alger Olgeirsson
  • Michael D. O’Shea
  • Tim Palmer
  • Phedon Papamichael
  • Andrij Parekh
  • Daniel Pearl
  • Brian Pearson
  • Dave Perkal
  • Wally Pfister
  • Steven Poster
  • Rodrigo Prieto
  • Robert Primes
  • Frank Prinzi
  • Christopher Probst
  • Evan Prosofsky
  • Robert Richardson
  • Anthony B Richmond
  • Antonio Riestra
  • Pete Romano
  • Chris Ross
  • Martin Ruhe
  • Paul Ryan
  • Eric Saarinen
  • Alik Sakharov
  • Mikael Salomon
  • Linus Sandgren
  • Germano Saracco
  • Paul Sarossy
  • Roberto Schaefer
  • Tobias Schliessler
  • Aaron Schneider
  • John Seale
  • Christian Sebaldt
  • Joaquin Sedillo
  • Jonathan Sela
  • Tobia Sempi
  • Ben Seresin
  • Steven Shaw
  • Lawrence Sher
  • Sidney Sidell
  • Newton Thomas Sigel
  • Karina Silva
  • John Simmons
  • Jeremy Snell
  • Oliver Stapelton
  • Ueli Steiger
  • Vittorio Storaro
  • Gavin Struthers
  • Tim Suhrstedt
  • Attila Szalay
  • Rodney Taylor
  • Mario Tosi
  • Salvatore Totino
  • Kristy Tully
  • Eric van Haren Noman
  • Hoyte van Hoytema
  • Kees van Oostrum
  • Theo Van De Sande
  • Stijn Van der Veken
  • Checco Varese
  • Mark Vargo
  • Roy Wagner
  • Corey C. Waters
  • Colin Watkinson
  • Michael Weaver
  • Mark H. Weingartner
  • Jo Willems
  • Stuart Winecoff
  • Peter Wunstorf
  • Rina Yang
  • Steve Yedlin
  • Bradford Young
  • Haris Zambarloukos
  • Kenneth Zunder

Directors

  • Duane Adler
  • Allison Anders
  • Judd Apatow
  • Darren Aronofsky
  • Jacques Audiard
  • Brad Bird
  • Danny Boyle
  • D.J. Caruso
  • J. C. Chandor
  • Damien Chazelle
  • George Clooney
  • Ethan Coen
  • Joel Coen
  • Bradley Cooper
  • Sofia Coppola
  • Brady Corbet
  • Alfonso Cuarón
  • Garth Davis
  • Guillermo del Toro
  • David Dobkin
  • Steve Faigenbaum
  • Rick Famuyiwa
  • Coralie Fargeat
  • Rodrigo Garcia
  • Jonathan Glazer
  • Drew Goddard
  • Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
  • James Gray
  • Luca Guadagnino
  • Sam Hargrave
  • John Herzfeld
  • Oliver Hirschbiegel
  • Nicole Holofcener
  • Ron Howard
  • Albert Hughes
  • Allen Hughes
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu
  • Peter Jackson
  • Rian Johnson
  • Spike Jonze
  • John Krasinski
  • Karyn Kusama
  • Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Francis Lawrence
  • Ang Lee
  • Spike Lee
  • Shawn Levy
  • Will Lovelace
  • Kevin Macdonald
  • Dennis Maguire
  • James Mangold
  • Michael Mann
  • James Marsh
  • Rob Marshall
  • Tom McCarthy
  • Martin McDonagh
  • Christopher McQuarrie
  • Sam Mendes
  • Christopher Nolan
  • Gavin O’Connor
  • Pawel Pawlikowski
  • Alexander Payne
  • Mark Pellington
  • Todd Phillips
  • Michael Polish
  • Gina Prince-Bythewood
  • Sam Raimi
  • Dee Rees
  • Nicolas Winding Refn
  • Jason Reitman
  • Jay Roach
  • Seth Rogen
  • Mark Romanek
  • David O. Russell
  • Joe Russo
  • Marjane Satrapi
  • Julian Schnabel
  • Martin Scorsese
  • M. Night Shyamalan
  • Paolo Sorrentino
  • Dylan Southern
  • Wendey Stanzler
  • Oliver Stone
  • Quentin Tarantino
  • Julie Taymor
  • Fernando Trueba
  • Denis Villeneuve
  • Mark Waters
  • Chris Weitz
  • Wim Wenders
  • Joss Whedon
  • Edgar Wright
  • Joe Wright

Actors

  • Kathy Baker
  • Elizabeth Banks
  • Drew Barrymore
  • Kathy Bates
  • Halle Berry
  • Emily Blunt
  • Kate Bosworth
  • Lucy Boynton
  • Zach Braff
  • Jeff Bridges
  • Sterling K. Brown
  • Sandra Bullock
  • Rose Byrne
  • Bobby Cannavale
  • Max Casella
  • Jordan Charles
  • Jessica Chastain
  • Glenn Close
  • Willem Dafoe
  • Matt Damon
  • Zooey Deschanel
  • Robert De Niro
  • Danny DeVito
  • Peter Dinklage
  • Ann Dowd
  • Clea Duvall
  • Elle Fanning
  • America Ferrera
  • Dexter Fletcher
  • Gal Gadot
  • Paul Giamatti
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Heather Graham
  • Bill Hader
  • Michael C. Hall
  • Jon Hamm
  • Woody Harrelson
  • Kate Hudson
  • Holly Hunter
  • Scarlett Johansson
  • Catherine Keener
  • Barry Keoghan
  • Riley Keough
  • Lisa Kudrow
  • Jude Law
  • Natasha Lyonne
  • Virginia Madsen
  • Frances McDormand
  • Max Minghella
  • Ellen Page
  • Rosamond Pike
  • Brad Pitt
  • Tim Robbins
  • Mark Ruffalo
  • Zoe Saldana
  • Jason Segel
  • Chloe Sevigny
  • Tye Sheridan
  • Kristen Stewart
  • Julia Stiles
  • Emma Stone
  • Meryl Streep
  • Jason Sudeikis
  • Ulrich Thomsen
  • Kerry Washington
  • Naomi Watts
  • Olivia Wilde
  • Kate Winslet
  • Ayelet Zurer

Filmmakers

  • Craig Alpert
  • Colleen Atwood
  • John Axelrad
  • Eddie Barber
  • Kym Barrett
  • Thomas Barron
  • Alan Baumgarten
  • Hannah Beachler
  • Judy Becker
  • Alan Edward Bell
  • Sasha Dylan Bell
  • William Brent Bell
  • Erin Benach
  • Lillian E. Benson
  • Fred Berger
  • Debbie Berman
  • Avril Beukes
  • Consolata Boyle
  • Maryann Brandon
  • Wendy Greene Bricmont
  • Geraud Brisson
  • Conrad Buff IV
  • Reid Burns
  • Eugenio Caballero
  • Thomas J. Cabela
  • Carolyn Calvert
  • Christopher S. Capp
  • Milena Canonero
  • John Capo
  • Anne Carey
  • Stefania Cella
  • Stéphane Ceretti
  • Jordan Charles
  • Hank Corwin
  • Scott Dale
  • Luke Davies
  • Shannon Baker Davis
  • Sophie De Rakoff
  • Peter Devlin
  • Chris Dickens
  • Dody Dorn
  • Crystal Dowd
  • Matthew Duclos
  • Bob Ducsay
  • Mark L Duncan
  • Andrew Eisen
  • Seth Emmons
  • Louie Escobar
  • Lou Eyrich
  • Bill Fariello
  • Dante Ferretti
  • Eric Fletcher
  • Mark O. Forker
  • Billy Fox
  • Jo Francis
  • Robert Frazen
  • Glenn Fremantle
  • José Antonio García
  • Dede Gardner
  • Glenn Garland
  • Dean Georgopoulos
  • Dana E. Glauberman
  • William Goldenberg
  • Steve Golin
  • Affonso Gonçalves
  • Adam Gough
  • Anne Goursaud
  • Emily Greene
  • Jon Gregory
  • Clay Griffith
  • David Gropman
  • Saira Haider
  • Todd Hallowell
  • Eddie Hamilton
  • Dorian Harris
  • Omar Hassan-Reep
  • Michael Hatzer
  • David Hayman
  • Rick Heinrichs
  • Mark Helfrich
  • Grant Heslov
  • Richard Heus
  • David Heyman
  • Jeremy Hindle
  • Amy Hobby
  • Frieder Hochheim
  • Jay Holben
  • Maysie Hoy
  • William Hoy
  • Nichole Huenergardt
  • Rob Hummel
  • Chris Innis
  • Alan Ipakchian
  • Scott Jacobs
  • Joanna Johnston
  • Virginia Katz
  • Frank Kay
  • Debbie Kennard
  • Rolfe Kent
  • Douglas Kirkland
  • Jon Kilik
  • Jeremy Kleiner
  • Pam Koffler
  • Anne Kuljian
  • Drew Kunin
  • Ross LaManna
  • Stuart Levy
  • Michael Legato
  • Skip Lievsay
  • Joe Lomba
  • Cindy Mah
  • Devin Mann
  • Michael Mansouri
  • Mary Jo Markey
  • Paul Massey
  • Cherylanne Martin
  • Karen McHugh
  • Mike McCusker
  • Joi McMillon
  • Steven Mirkovich
  • Ellen Mirojnick
  • Stephen Mirrione
  • David Moritz
  • Steve Morrow
  • Bob Murawski
  • Ann Murtha
  • Ray Neapolitan
  • Jeremiah O'Driscoll
  • Jeffrey A. Okun
  • John Ottman
  • Jasan Pagni
  • Beth Pasternak
  • Ed Phillips
  • Michael Pizzuto
  • Tom Poole
  • Sandy Powell
  • Fred Raskin
  • Tatiana S. Riegel
  • Amy Robinson
  • Jan Roelfs
  • Patricia Rommel
  • Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir
  • Hugh Ross
  • Christopher Rouse
  • Paul Rubell
  • Mayes Rubeo
  • Stan Salfas
  • Nat Sanders
  • Pietro Scalia
  • Steve Schklair
  • Arthur Schmidt
  • Ellen H. Schwartz
  • Alexander Schwarz
  • Steven J. Scott
  • Tracy Seaward
  • Anna B. Sheppard
  • Terilyn A. Shropshire
  • Spyros Skouras
  • Dwayne Alexander Smith
  • Lee Smith
  • Wyatt Smith
  • Joan Sobel
  • Stefan Sonnenfeld
  • D. Brian Spruill
  • Mick Strawn
  • Dana Stevens
  • Juli Silver Taracido
  • Brendan Taylor
  • Michael Taylor
  • Debra L. Tennant
  • Matthew Tomlinson
  • Plummy Tucker
  • John M. Tyson
  • Mark Ulano
  • Christine Vachon
  • Matt Walker
  • Martin Walsh
  • Gary Wattson
  • Billy Weber
  • Andrew Weisblum
  • Julie Weiss
  • Bo Welch
  • Shelly Westerman
  • Tyger Williams
  • Brad Wilson
  • Hughes Winborne
  • Mari-Jo Winkler
  • Janty Yates
  • Joachim Zell
  • Hans Zimmer

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