Steven Spielberg disagrees with Academy’s new telecast changes

Few if any modern filmmakers rival Steven Spielberg and his track record at the Academy Awards. A three-time winner (including Best Director and Best Picture for “Schindler’s List” in 1993, and Best Director for “Saving Private Ryan” in 1998) and 19-time nominee, Spielberg is back again this year for his directing and producing work on “West Side Story.”

So, Spielberg knows a thing or two about how the Oscars ceremony works, and he isn’t too satisfied with the new changes that will be made to the 94th Oscars this month. During an interview with Deadline, Spielberg said he strongly opposed plans to award eight Oscars in the hour before the televised broadcast begins.

“I disagree with the decision made by the executive committee. I feel very strongly that this is perhaps the most collaborative medium in the world. All of us make movies together, we become a family where one craft is just as indispensable as the next,” Spielberg said. “I feel that at the Academy Awards there is no above the line, there is no below the line. All of us are on the same line bringing the best of us to tell the best stories we possibly can. And that means for me  we should all have a seat at the supper table together live at 5.”

“West Side Story” was nominated for seven Oscars this year, including in two categories that have since been shuffled to the pre-broadcast: Best Production Design and Best Sound. “We all come together to make magic, and I am sad that we will all not be on live television watching magic happen together,” Spielberg added of the changes. “Everybody will have their moment in the limelight. All the winners will be able to be shown with their acceptance speeches, but it’s the idea that we can’t all be there.”

Spielberg is the latest filmmaker to come out against the move, which was announced last month. Fellow 2022 Oscar nominees Jane Campion, Guillermo Del Toro, and Denis Villeneuve have publicly criticized the decision, as have members of this year’s nominated class. “King Richard” editor Pamela Martin, whose category is also impacted by the switch, told Gold Derby the academy’s transparent decision to shorten the broadcast in an attempt to goose sagging viewership would likely backfire. “I don’t think they’re going to gain more viewers by doing this. People who don’t watch the Oscars are not interested in this sort of thing,” she said. “So it’s a little disappointing.”

The 2022 Oscars take place on March 27 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. It will be hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes and airs on ABC.

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