The leaders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is defending itself against a backlash set off by their decision to present four Oscar categories during commercials at the Feb. 24 ceremony.
Academy officers, including president John Bailey, sent another letter to members Wednesday pledging 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."
The decision to present four categories — cinematography, film editing, live-action shorts and makeup and hairstyling — during commercial breaks sparked immediate outrage and disappointment among Academy members and the public alike.
Prominent filmmakers including Guillermo del Toro, Spike Lee, and Martin Scorsese joined a number of members in the directing, editing, cinematography, and other branches to pen an open letter to the Academy that criticized the move "nothing less than an insult."
The Academy's response also sought to clarify the presentation of those four categories. The winners' acceptance speeches will be included in the broadcast; time spent walking to the stage will be edited out.