Denis Villeneuve says the Oscars are having ‘an identity crisis’

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

During last night’s Art Directors Guild Awards ceremony, Denis Villeneuve received the William Cameron Menzies Award and discussed the controversial decision by the Academy Awards to pre-tape several nominations for the 94th Oscars telecast.

After Guillermo del Toro raised concerns about the decision undermining the impressive work done by film production crews around the world in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dune director is the latest prominent filmmaker to criticize the Academy, telling Deadline in a recent chat:

Honestly, I think that the Academy’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I think it’s a mistake. And I understand that they’re under tremendous pressure, but I think it isn’t the right decision.

The acclaimed filmmaker further explained the importance of celebrating teamwork by bringing up the fact that directors and actors are always in the limelight, overshadowing the great work done by crew members.

The thing is that filmmaking is about a teamwork. It’s like a football team. It’s like you have like all different kinds of jobs that everybody needs to get the top of its game; otherwise, the movie collapses, you know? It’s a team effort. In the media we are a lot about the directors. We are, of course, a lot about the actors. All the people that are working in the shadows there, unfortunately, they need to be seen and to be recognized, and these award shows are made for them.

Villeneuve compares the current state of the Academy to an “identity crisis,” noting:

“I think that the Oscars are going through an identity crisis. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the Academy Awards. I think everybody is expecting that it will be a long show. Myself, I love it…There’s always bursts of genius. And beautiful moments. Sometimes it’s boring…Every single edition is always its own. It’s part of the show. And listen, we’ll see what happened this year but I think there will be a lot of thought before and after.”

So far, the controversial decision to exclude several categories from the live telecast has generated a ton of backlash, though the Academy is showing no signs of reneging on their decision.