ScreenSkills head of film won’t cast Oscars votes in protest at excluded categories

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Gareth Ellis-Unwin, head of film and animation at UK skills charity ScreenSkills, has said he will not cast his final round votes for this year’s Oscars, due to the Academy’s decision to present certain awards during advert breaks in the show.

Academy president John Bailey announced in a letter to members on Monday 11 February that cinematography, editing, make-up and hairstyling, and live-action short will be handed out during advert breaks in this year’s ceremony.

Ellis-Unwin, who won the Oscar for best film as producer of The King’s Speech in 2011, said. “I think it is a damaging move not to recognise some of the roles that are critical to the filmmaking process.”

“Cinematography, editing and make-up and hair are vital to the process yet are among the many jobs in the film industry that many people don’t know about. If we want to continue to recruit new talent into the industry, it is important to showcase all the opportunities available and not just the starry ones.”

“This is particularly important if we are serious about creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”

The 91st Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in LA on February 24. The winning speeches from the cut categories will be edited to remove the winners’ walk from their seats to the stage, and each speech will be aired separately later in the broadcast.

The move has brought criticism from across the industry, with filmmakers including last year’s best director Guillermo del Toro and this year’s four-time nominee Alfonso Cuarón speaking out against the move.

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