Oscars slammed by Hollywood editors as ‘insult’, not inclusive

Breathing new life into a controversy that has plagued the film academy in the run-up to this year’s Oscars, American Cinema Editors released a video statement Monday blaming the organization for leaving editing and other trades behind. vital parts of cinema “on the floor of the editing room”. at this year’s ceremony.

“We feel cheated, insulted and angered by the way our art has been deemed superfluous in favor of bloated performances and shows,” the more than 1,000-member organization said in its statement, criticizing the management by the Academy of eight craft awards and short films that were distributed off-air in the hour before telecasting began.

Nearly a month after the Oscars, emotions are still running high among many academy members over the academy’s much-maligned decision to hand out eight less-starred awards – film editing, makeup and hairstyling, original music, production design and sound, as well as the three categories of short films – before the start of the live performance. The winners’ speeches were later edited into the show in a truncated form in an effort to cut the often bloated TV show to less than three hours.

The bet on seeking audiences – which has been called an offense to the cinema by some of the most prominent figures in the industry before the show – has finally failed, with a seemingly minimal gain in time compared to traditional presentations and to the show in 3 hours and 40 minutes.

In its video statement, which was posted on its website, ACE urged the management of the academy – which is desperate to boost the show’s ratings – to change course and find a way to deal with all winners with the same respect in the future.

“ACE calls on production designers, set designers, costume designers, composers, makeup artists/hairstylists, short filmmakers, sound artists and all creative disciplines to join us in demanding fairness and inclusivity,” the group said. . “Give us a voice in this process. Let’s work together to find a solution that truly honors cinema and ensures this never happens again.

The academy’s board of trustees are due to hold a post-mortem meeting on this year’s show, which went off the rails when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock for a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The academy declined to confirm the timing and content of the next meeting. Still reeling from the fallout from that shocking moment – ​​which ultimately led to Smith resigning from the group and earning him an official ban from all academy events for 10 years – the 54-member board must now reckon with a lingering controversy that has bitterly divided its own membership.

In the weeks leading up to the Oscars, the academy’s decision to distribute the eight categories off-air drew heavy criticism from various guilds, industry organizations and nominees, including Jane Campion, Steven Spielberg, Denis Villeneuve and Guillermo del Toro. In an open letter, 70 prominent film professionals, including James Cameron, John Williams and former academy governor Kathleen Kennedy, blasted the plan, saying it would cause “irreparable damage” to the reputation of the Oscars by treating some of cinema’s most vital artisans as “second-class citizens.”

On Oscar night, co-hosts Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes tried to defuse any lingering tension over the changes among the crowd gathered at the Dolby Theater with a joke, and most attendees seemed ready to let it go. the moment. But with the very meaning of the Oscars in question, the issue continues to stir strong emotions among many in the academy.

The academy has come under pressure to reverse a steep decline in ratings in recent years for a TV show that bills itself as Hollywood’s biggest night. This year’s show averaged 16.6 million viewers, an increase of about 60% from last year’s pandemic show. Still, while the rise in viewership has relieved the academy and ABC, which broadcasts the telecast, this year’s Oscars still rank second lowest.

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