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Al Pacino says Oscars producers asked him to omit reading best picture nominees

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Al Pacino says he was following the instructions of the Oscars producers when he omitted the names of the best picture nominees while announcing the winner of the show's biggest category.

The Oscar-winning actor was Sunday night's final presenter and announced “Oppenheimer” as the best picture winner without naming the full slate of nominees.

“I just want to be clear it was not my intention to omit them, rather a choice by the producers not to have them said again since they were highlighted individually throughout the ceremony. I was honored to be a part of the evening and chose to follow the way they wished for this award to be presented,” Pacino said in a statement Monday afternoon.

“I realize being nominated is a huge milestone in one’s life and to not be fully recognized is offensive and hurtful. I say this as someone who profoundly relates with filmmakers, actors and producers so I deeply empathize with those who have been slighted by this oversight and it’s why I felt it necessary to make this statement.”

Pacino, 83, is a nine-time acting nominee, who won best actor for 1992's “Scent of a Woman.”

The Oscars started late and ended in a respectable time — under last year's runtime — in part because Pacino skipped reading all the nominees for best picture.

The nominated films — “American Fiction,” “Anatomy of a Fall,” “Barbie,” “The Holdovers,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Maestro,” “Oppenheimer,” “Past Lives,” “Poor Things” and “The Zone of Interest” — all were featured with montages during the show.

But Pacino's abrupt presentation — saying “And the Oscar goes to ... ” before eventually announcing “my eyes see ‘Oppenheimer,’” left many viewers confused.

It wasn't the only category to omit a reading of the nominees. The nominated original songs were all performed on the show, and the announcement that “What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie” had won was made without listing them again.

Oscars producer Molly McNearney told the trade outlet Variety that skipping the reading of the nominees was intentional.

“It was a creative decision we made because we were very worried that the show was going to be long,” she said. “By the time you get to the end of the show, you’ve seen all ten best picture clip packages. People just want to hear who wins, and they’re pretty ready for the show to be over. At least that’s what we anticipated."

She added: "I apologize if our decision to not have to read through all those nominations put him in a tough spot.”

The day after the Oscars, Penguin Press announced that Pacino has a memoir coming out this fall.

The publisher is called the book “an astonishingly revelatory account of a creative life in full,” including his account of such classics as “The Godfather,” “Serpico” and “Dog Day Afternoon.”

Pacino said in a statement that he wanted “to express what I’ve seen and been through in my life.”