Steven Spielberg loses Oscars battle with Netflix

Steven Spielberg has lost his campaign for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to prohibit movies produced by streaming sites like Netflix from competing at the Oscars.The Academy revealed on Tuesday (23Apr19) that its Board of Governors ha…

Steven Spielberg has lost his campaign for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to prohibit movies produced by streaming sites like Netflix from competing at the Oscars.

The Academy revealed on Tuesday (23Apr19) that its Board of Governors had approved a number of new rule changes ahead of the upcoming 92nd Academy Awards next year (2020).

While the amendments impact a number of categories, Academy president John Bailey addressed the streaming debate directly and suggested that, as consumer behaviour changes, it’s important for the organisation to adapt accordingly.

“We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions,” he stated. “Our rules currently require theatrical exhibition, and also allow for a broad selection of films to be submitted for Oscars consideration. We plan to further study the profound changes occurring in our industry and continue discussions with our members about these issues.”

Netflix film Roma, which also had a theatrical release, dominated the 2019 Oscars shortlist, eventually taking home three awards.

The Jurassic Park director, 72, had argued that movies produced for streaming services should be eligible for Emmys, the ceremony that honours television shows, as opposed to the Academy Awards.

While Spielberg had previously referred to streaming films as “TV movies” in an interview with ITV News, Netflix’s upcoming original film The Irishman is expected to perform well at the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony, and star of the movie Robert De Niro reflected upon the positive impact of Netflix on the film industry.

“A lot of opportunity has come out of the Netflix thing,” the 75-year-old told CNN. “It’s not so simple and I agree we have to have the theatre format, it’s so important. But I don’t know, things move on in ways that we can’t foresee.”

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Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese sign open letter calling for reversal of Oscar changes

Filmmakers including Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee have written an open letter to the Academy calling on them to reinstate the Oscars categories they’ve relegated to the ad breaks. On Monday (11Feb19), John Bailey, President of the …

Filmmakers including Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee have written an open letter to the Academy calling on them to reinstate the Oscars categories they’ve relegated to the ad breaks.

On Monday (11Feb19), John Bailey, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS), announced that the winners of the Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling and Live Action Short categories would be presented with their Oscars during the commercial breaks and an edited version of their winning moment would be aired later in the broadcast.

The decision sparked outrage from members of the film industry who took to social media to condemn it, and now a group of filmmakers has come together to write a letter stating that “it’s not too late to have this decision reversed”.

“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,” they wrote in the letter, which was published on film outlets on Wednesday.

“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,” they continued. “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.”

The letter was signed by more than 40 filmmakers, with directors such as La La Land’s Damien Chazelle, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Spike Jonze, Ang Lee, Dee Rees, and Seth Rogen, and Oscar-winning cinematographers Roger Deakins and Emmanuel Lubezki adding their names to it.

On Wednesday, a letter was sent from the AMPAS’ board of governors to members in which they cleared up “inaccurate reporting” and insisted that “no award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others.”

They confirmed that all awards would be presented during the Los Angeles ceremony on 24 February, but those four would not be broadcast live to help streamline the show.

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Alfonso Cuaron leads protest over Oscars edit

Filmmakers Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Patty Jenkins have slammed Oscars bosses for agreeing to hand out editing and cinematography awards during commercial breaks. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president John Bailey confirmed…

Filmmakers Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Patty Jenkins have slammed Oscars bosses for agreeing to hand out editing and cinematography awards during commercial breaks.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president John Bailey confirmed the news in a letter to members on Monday (11Feb19), revealing the honours, as well as those for live action short, and make-up and hairstyling will not be presented live during the Oscars telecast on 24 February (19).

Instead, the winners will take the stage during commercial breaks and their acceptance speeches will feature later in the show.

The move was made in an effort to make sure the ceremony runs no longer than three hours, but directors like Cuaron, whose film Roma is the favourite for the Best Cinematography prize, thinks it’s a terrible idea.

“In the history of CINEMA, masterpieces have existed without sound, without color, without a story, without actors and without music,” he writes in a statement. “No one single film has ever existed without CINEMAtography and without editing.”

Del Toro, who won the Best Director award last year (18) for The Shape of Water, adds: “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. They are not inherited from a theatrical tradition or a literary tradition: they are cinema itself.”

And Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins agreed, adding: “I couldn’t agree more. If we are here to celebrate the craft and medium, its hard to imagine putting these categories down a tier from any others.”

Meanwhile, revered cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki – a three-time Oscar winner for Gravity, Birdman and The Revenant, has taken to Instagram to challenge the Academy bosses’ “unfortunate” decision, stating: “Cinematography and editing are probably the ‘elementary particles’, the primordial components of cinema.”

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Oscars bosses to present four awards during commercial breaks

The Oscars for Best Cinematography and Film Editing will be presented during commercial breaks at this year’s (19) prizegiving to keep the event as streamlined as possible. The winners for Live Action Short and Make-up and Hairstyling will also be ann…

The Oscars for Best Cinematography and Film Editing will be presented during commercial breaks at this year’s (19) prizegiving to keep the event as streamlined as possible.

The winners for Live Action Short and Make-up and Hairstyling will also be announced during breaks in the show and recapped later in the telecast.

The category winners’ speeches will be livestreamed for film fans watching the show online.

Academy president John Bailey confirmed the changes in a letter sent out on Monday (11Feb19), which reads: “Viewing patterns for the Academy Awards are changing quickly in our current multi-media world, and our show must also evolve to successfully continue promoting motion pictures to a worldwide audience.

“As you may remember, last summer the Academy’s Board of Governors committed to airing a three-hour show. I want to reiterate however, that all 24 Academy Award-winning presentations will be included in the broadcast. We believe we have come up with a great way to do this, and keep the show to three hours.

“While still honoring the achievements of all 24 awards on the Oscars, four categories – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling – will be presented during commercial breaks, with their winning speeches aired later in the broadcast.”

In future years, the awards presented during commercial breaks will rotate, so no honours will be handed out as TV viewers aren’t watching live two years in a row.

Bailey adds: “The executive committees of six branches generously opted-in to have their awards presented in this slightly edited timeframe for this year’s show, and we selected four. In future years, four to six different categories may be selected for rotation, in collaboration with the show producers. This year’s categories will be exempted in 2020.”

The Academy boss also revealed that Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic will perform during the In Memoriam segment of the show “as part of their own centennial celebration”.

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Cicely Tyson & Kathleen Kennedy to be honoured at 2018 Governors Awards

Cicely Tyson and Kathleen Kennedy are to receive honorary prizes at the 2018 Governors Awards.The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted on Tuesday night (04Sep18) to present Honorary Awards to African-American acti…

Cicely Tyson and Kathleen Kennedy are to receive honorary prizes at the 2018 Governors Awards.

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted on Tuesday night (04Sep18) to present Honorary Awards to African-American acting legend Tyson, publicist Marvin Levy and Argentinian composer Lalo Schifrin as means of celebrating “exceptional contributions” to the entertainment industry.

In addition, producers Kennedy and Frank Marshall will receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which features a bust of the motion picture executive, in honour of their “consistently high quality” work on feature films.

“Choosing the honourees for its awards each year is the happiest of all the Board of Governors’ work,” said Academy president John Bailey in a statement. “And this year, its selection of five iconic artists was made with universal acclaim by the Academy’s 54 spirited governors.”

The three Oscar statuettes and Thalberg Award will be presented to the recipients at the 10th Annual Governors Awards on 18 November in a ceremony held in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles.

Raised in Harlem, Tyson began her career as a model and a theatre actress, appearing both on Broadway and Off-Broadway. The 93-year-old rose to fame following her role as Portia in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter in 1968 and received an Academy Award nomination for her leading performance in 1972’s Sounder.

Kennedy will be the first woman to receive the Thalberg Award. In partnership with her husband Marshall, the pair has generated Best Picture nominations for movies such as The Sixth Sense, Seabiscuit, Munich and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Prior to forming The Kennedy/Marshall Company in 1992, the duo co-founded Amblin Productions with Steven Spielberg, sharing a Best Picture nomination for The Color Purple.

Significantly, Levy is the first publicist to receive an honorary Oscar. He has worked with Spielberg for over four decades and orchestrated campaigns for films including Back to the Future, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, American Beauty and Gladiator.

Meanwhile, Schifrin has written scores for more than 100 films, including Dirty Harry, Enter the Dragon and Rush Hour, as well as the memorable theme for the television series Mission: Impossible, which is also used in the film franchise. He has received six Oscar nominations.

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Oscars officials postpone Most Popular Film category after uproar

Oscars bosses have halted plans to introduce a new category to celebrate box office hits after facing a public backlash. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) members voted in favour of the new Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film cat…

Oscars bosses have halted plans to introduce a new category to celebrate box office hits after facing a public backlash.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) members voted in favour of the new Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film category at a Board of Governors meeting last month (Aug18), as part of a series of changes to make the prizegiving more appealing to viewers.

Under the leadership of organisation president John Bailey, officials had intended to add the new award to the line-up for the 2019 event, set for 24 February, but the news was met with uproar from actors, filmmakers, and fans alike, with many taking to social media to express their disapproval of the move.

The widespread criticism has since made Academy chiefs rethink their ceremony overhaul, and on Thursday (06Sep18), Academy CEO Dawn Hudson announced the proposal was being put on ice for the time being to allow further research.

“The Academy recognized that implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released,” she declared in a statement. “The Board of Governors continues to be actively engaged in discussions, and will examine and seek additional input regarding this category.

“There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members,” she continued. “We have made changes to the Oscars over the years – including this year – and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years.”

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Oscars bosses to honour blockbusters with new popular film category

Oscars bosses have added a new award to honour box office hits. At a board of governors meeting on Tuesday night (07Aug18), when John Bailey was elected to a second term as president, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members approved severa…

Oscars bosses have added a new award to honour box office hits.

At a board of governors meeting on Tuesday night (07Aug18), when John Bailey was elected to a second term as president, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members approved several changes to the prizegiving, including one that celebrates the year’s biggest films.

The category for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film will be introduced at the 2019 Oscars, which is staged on 24 February.

Bailey and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson have also announced the board agreed to limit the Oscars telecast to three hours, revealing some awards will now be handed out during commercial breaks, edited and shown towards the end of the broadcast to keep international audiences engaged in the show.

“We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide,” Bailey and Hudson wrote in a letter to members. “To honor all 24 award categories, we will present select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined). The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast.”

They also announced the 2020 Oscars will be moved from its original date (23Feb) to 9 February.

“We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously. We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you,” the letter concluded.

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Academy president cleared after investigation into sexual misconduct claims

The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been cleared of sexual misconduct allegations made against him following an investigation.John Bailey was accused of inappropriate behaviour days after the 2018 Oscars earlier this mo…

The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been cleared of sexual misconduct allegations made against him following an investigation.

John Bailey was accused of inappropriate behaviour days after the 2018 Oscars earlier this month (Mar18), and Academy officials reportedly looked into three claims against the 75-year-old director and cinematographer, who was elected president last summer.

However, in a statement released on Tuesday night (27Mar18), the Academy confirmed that Bailey had emerged unscathed from the investigation.

“The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that it has concluded its review, based on its Standards of Conduct, into the allegation made against Academy President John Bailey,” the statement read.

“The Membership and Administration Committee and its sub-committee thoroughly reviewed and considered the claim, John Bailey’s response, and corroborating statements from both parties. The Academy took the claim very seriously and was cognizant of the rights of both the claimant and the accused, including consulting with outside counsel with expertise in matters related to harassment.”

The results of the investigation were revealed just days after Bailey denied the claims in a memo sent to staff last Friday, insisting that reports linking him to misconduct were only made to “tarnish” his 50-year career.

“While there have been well-documented instances of individuals in this industry not treating women with respect, I am not one of them,” Bailey’s leaked memo read. “I care deeply about women’s issues and support equal treatment and access for all individuals working in this profession.

“Because I know the facts, I expect they will conclude that there is no basis to take any action against me.”

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Academy president denies sexual misconduct allegations

The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has denied sexual misconduct allegations in a memo sent to staff. John Bailey was accused of inappropriate behaviour days after the 2018 Oscars earlier this month (Mar18), and Academy of…

The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has denied sexual misconduct allegations in a memo sent to staff.

John Bailey was accused of inappropriate behaviour days after the 2018 Oscars earlier this month (Mar18), and Academy officials are reportedly investigating three claims against the 75-year-old director and cinematographer, who was elected president last summer (17).

Breaking his silence in a memo sent to Academy staff on Friday (23Mar18), Bailey, whose film credits include Groundhog Day and As Good as It Gets, claimed an allegation that he attempted to touch a woman inappropriately on a movie set a decade ago is untrue, adding that reports linking him to misconduct are false and have only been made to “tarnish my 50-year career”.

“While there have been well-documented instances of individuals in this industry not treating women with respect, I am not one of them,” Bailey’s leaked memo reads. “I care deeply about women’s issues and support equal treatment and access for all individuals working in this profession.”

Academy bosses have refused to comment on reports of an investigation into the allegations against Bailey, insisting nothing will be released to the media until reviews are completed and reported to the Board of Governors.

“Because I know the facts, I expect they will conclude that there is no basis to take any action against me,” Bailey adds in his memo.

Ironically, the sexual misconduct scandal that has rocked Hollywood was a key topic at the Academy Awards two weeks ago. Bailey was two months into his presidency in October (17) when producer Harvey Weinstein became just the second person removed from the Academy for misconduct.

The movie mogul has been accused of harassment and assault by over 80 women following exposes published in the New York Times and the New Yorker. The scandal sparked the #MeToo and the Time’s Up movements.

At the time, Bailey sent a memo to Academy members, insisting the organisation could be “a part of a larger initiative to define standards of behavior and to support the vulnerable women and men who may be at personal and career risk because of violations of ethical standards by their peers.”

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