Steven Spielberg Says He 'Disagrees' with Decision to Award 8 Oscars Categories Ahead of Live Show

"We should all have a seat at the supper table together live at 5," Steven Spielberg told Deadline of the Oscars awarding several categories ahead of time

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 05: Director Steven Spielberg attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards Nominee Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 5, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images). Photo: Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg is standing beside his fellow Academy Award nominees — in all categories.

In a Sunday conversation with Deadline, the award-winning director said he "disagree(s) with the decision made by the executive committee" to award eight Oscars ahead of the live show this year — footage that will then be edited into the broadcast for viewers at home.

"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," said Spielberg, 75, who is up for Best Director for West Side Story.

"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," he added.

"And that means for me we should all have a seat at the supper table together live at 5," Spielberg said, referring to the ceremony's usual 5 p.m. PT start time.

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Oscars statuettes
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Spielberg's comments come after the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, David Rubin, issued a letter to Academy members late last month revealing that eight categories will be presented in the hour before the live broadcast begins, in an effort to present a "tighter and more electric" ceremony to at-home viewers.

The categories are Best Documentary Short Subject, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Animated Short Film, Best Live-Action Short Film and Best Sound.

Spielberg, a 19-time Oscar nominee and three-time winner, told Deadline, "Without John Williams, Jaws would wear dentures. With West Side Story, when Tony is singing 'Tonight' with Maria, without (Production Designer) Adam Stockhausen he would be singing it on a step-ladder and she would be on the scaffolding, all this on an empty soundstage. Without film editing, all my movies would still be in dailies."

"We all come together to make magic, and I am sad that we will all not be on live television watching magic happen together," he added. "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."

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Rubin emphasized in his Feb. 22 letter that no categories are cut altogether and that the winners will be identified when their moments air during the main broadcast. The decision was made, he said, to "provide more time and opportunity for audience entertainment and engagement through comedy, musical numbers, film clip packages and movie tributes."

In his comments to Deadline, Spielberg said that while he has "tremendous respect for my fellow governors" and Rubin, he hoped the decision would be "reversed" — however, "I'm not anticipating a reversal and I am not optimistic about it."

West Side Story is up for seven Oscars aside from Spielberg for Best Director, including Best Picture. The longtime filmmaker previously took home Best Director trophies for Schindler's List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998), as well as the Best Picture Oscar for the former film.

The 94th Annual Academy Awards is set to air on Sunday, March 27, live from the Dolby Theatre on ABC.

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