A week ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invited Academy Award nominees from branches including editing, sound, makeup and poetry to its virtual town hall. They assumed, according to one of the people who attended Tuesday’s event, that the meeting had been called to discuss COVID-19 protocols for Hollywood’s biggest night.
The source said (the current candidate who agreed to speak with diverse on condition of anonymity). In total, eight different categories of Oscars will be awarded — original score, makeup and hairstyling, short documentaries, film editing, production design, short animation, short live action and sound — before the upcoming show starts March 27, freeing up for time. It is broadcast intermittently throughout the evening. Other award shows, such as The Tonys, have used a similar approach, but the move sparked controversy among members of the Academy and the film community.
At Town Hall Zoom before word of the decision was leaked, some candidates were aghast. Additional sources said diverse That the town hall convened to give the news a personal touch and to show respect for their nominees. The call was attended by Sean Feeney, Executive Vice President for Membership and Awards; Kristin Simmons, Chief Operations Officer, AMPAS; Jennifer Todd, Producers Branch Governor; and Academy CEO Don Hudson, who joined the call after it began. The source said that many of the about 40 contacted individuals tried to offer solutions to the resolution or alternative ways to simplify the offer, but were rejected. They have been informed that the decision is final.
“Putting us away like that, it’s disrespectful,” the source said. diverseafraid of revealing their identity during their campaign for the Oscars.
Emails and text messages were sent across the industry in the hours after the move. Shock and anger were expected. After all, the academy Previously I tried and failed before to modify the offer. For its 2019 broadcast, organizers announced a move to broadcast four categories during commercial breaks and then reversed them.
“It sends a strong message about prioritizing certain branches and filmmakers within the academy,” said one prominent producer, who also spoke anonymously, fearing professional repercussions. “I think there will be other ways in which the Academy can deliver these awards directly and generally speed up the pace of the show. This particular selection feels a bit lacking in creativity.”
Academy insiders said the group was sympathetic but frustrated, especially since critics of the category’s decision are largely the same ones who urged a radical transformation of broadcast television, which has suffered ratings plummeting for years. Moreover, the insider said that some conservatives representing those categories were fully supportive of the decision, citing the belated need for change.
For their part, most of the major industrial unions were diplomatic, some of their public statements even hinting at painful feelings.
“This can’t be an easy conclusion for the Academy,” said Steve Urban, Vice President of Motion Picture Sound Editors. “Sound is essential to keeping any title alive, moving and relevant. Motion picture sound editors applaud every Academy Award nominee. We know how powerful that sound is.”
“We support the Academy’s commitment to identifying all nominees on air and displaying acceptance letters of all winners live,” said Nelson Coates, president of IATSE Local 800 of the Art Directors Guild.
Meanwhile, American Film Editors were the only union to publicly denounce the decision.
“We are deeply disappointed with the Academy’s decision to change the way certain categories, including film editing, are presented in Oscars The Board of Directors of American Film said in a statement. “It sends the message that some creative disciplines are more vibrant than others. Nothing could be further from the truth and everyone who makes films knows it. As a group of artists wholly dedicated to advancing the art and prestige of film editing, we firmly believe that editing – and all other creative disciplines that are part of the collaborative art of filmmaking – they should be treated equally. Our contributions to this collaboration can sometimes seem invisible but undeniable. We hope that film editors and other artists affected by this change will be honored and celebrated with the passion, dignity and inclusion they deserve.”
In its private memo to all of its stellar members, the Academy described the decision as “in the interest of the future of our show and our organization.” Reading between the lines, film journalists and industry watchers took this as an indication that the length of the Oscars broadcast — known to be a joyful beacon of emotional acceptance speeches and dramatization — was at the heart of the matter.
“I don’t think someone is going to get caught now because some of the categories aren’t live,” the producer added. “I think some movie fans will choose not to watch because they will claim that the Academy is less interested in honoring the artisans on the ground floor.”
Awards advisors, within baseball as in the Hollywood side roads, mixed in the decision.
said Ray Costa, an AMPAS member who advises on music awards.
Andrea Resnick, whose company Impact24 works with creators across all categories that have been cut from live, said, “Sub-standard crafters always get the short end of the baton, even though they are little-known heroes in Hollywood. I think there are other ways to make a broadcast of a party live.” Handing out the Oscars is more exciting without diminishing the recognition that all the nominees deserve.”
One of the Cup’s top advisors simply said, “The Oscar is the Oscar. Just because it’s not in the live broadcast doesn’t diminish the value of recognition.”
Jazz Tangkai, Mark Malkin and Clayton Davis contributed to this report.
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