IATSE Leader Demands Oscars Reverse Course on Awards Presented During Commercials

"IATSE members, including cinematographers, editors, and hair and makeup stylists, are the core of any motion picture production," the group's president Matthew D. Loeb said. "It is an insult to the hardworking women and men of all below-the-line crafts to push these nominees and winners out of the spotlight."
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

IATSE international president Matthew D. Loeb blasted the Film Academy's decision to present four Oscar categories — cinematography, film editing, live-action shorts and makeup and hairstyling — during commercial breaks at the 91st Oscars broadcast in a letter in which he asserted: “We demand that the Academy reverse course.”

“IATSE members, including cinematographers, editors, and hair and makeup stylists, are the core of any motion picture production,” he said in the statement. “It is an insult to the hardworking women and men of all below-the-line crafts to push these nominees and winners out of the spotlight.”

He joined American Society of Cinematographers president Kees van Oostrum, nominee Alfonso Cuaron and others in speaking out against the controversial plan.

In an email to the Academy membership Monday, Academy president John Bailey, who belongs to the cinematographers branch and is an ASC member, laid out the plan for this year's show, which was initially announced last year but without details. He emphasized that the Academy is "still honoring the achievements of all 24 awards on the Oscars." In the case of the four categories that will be announced during commercial breaks, the winners' speeches will air later in the broadcast, he said. The plans call for there to be a rotation each year, meaning that at least four different categories would use this format in 2020.

Multiple sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the cinematographers branch volunteered to be among the categories that will be presented this year during the commercial breaks.

The full text of the statement follows:

By denying four categories — three of them below-the-line — their equal share of television coverage, the Academy displayed a complete absence of the kind of creativity their awards celebrate.

IATSE members, including cinematographers, editors, and hair and makeup stylists, are the core of any motion picture production. They create the iconic scenes and looks that make this medium so memorable. Without their work, none of the most-beloved films in Hollywood history would have been possible.

It is an insult to the hardworking women and men of all below-the-line crafts to push these nominees and winners out of the spotlight. We demand that the Academy reverse course and treat all categories with the respect they deserve.