Though far more serious problems emerged on the world stage in the last 24 hours, there are some in Hollywood still not ready to accept the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s unexpected decision to bump eight categories — including best score, production design, costume and hair, and editing — out of the live television broadcast.
Not surprisingly, the American Cinema Editors (ACE), an honorary society that many editors belong to, issued a strong rebuke of the decision. “We are deeply disappointed by the Academy’s decision to alter the way certain categories, including film editing, will be presented in the Oscars telecast. It sends a message that some creative disciplines are more vital than others. Nothing could be further from the truth and all who make movies know this,” their statement read.
It continued, “As a group of artists wholly dedicated to advancing the art and prestige of film editing, we passionately believe that editing—and all other creative disciplines that are part of the collaborative art of filmmaking—should be treated equally.”
The president of Motion Picture Sound Editors concurred and reminded that prior to last year’s ceremony AMPAS gave two awards to the sound department: sound mixing and sound editing. It was combined simply into “best sound” for last year’s awards, and now it’s been nixed from the telecast. “The Academy made an explicit promise not to eliminate sound from the live broadcast if they agreed to the travesty of combining sound editing and sound mixing into one category,” said the group’s president, Mark A. Lanza.
Additional comments of consternation were made by Motion Pictures Editors Guild (IATSE Local 700) and International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600), though the Art Directors Guild (IATSE Local 800) president Nelson Coates took a more “it’s an honor to just be nominated approach,” saying he was happy that the Academy had committed to including the winning acceptance speeches in edited form throughout the broadcast. (Let’s circle back to Nelson after we see just how truncated these speeches end up being, okay?)
On the late-night talk shows, both Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel had some commentary. On “The Tonight Show,” Fallon explained the new deal to his audience, then joked that the eight affected categories would be insultingly introduced as “the categories nobody cares about.”
Fallon also criticized the concept as a whole, suggesting that there are other aspects of the Oscars ceremony that could be excised before the eight categories. “If they really want to shorten the broadcast, maybe just skip the part where someone explains what an actor is,” Fallon zinged.
During the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” monologue, the Los Angeles-based host quipped on the irony of editors being cut out of the show. The former Oscars emcee then laid in a bit of a diss, sarcastically asking “How could they do this? I mean, who could forget that magical moment back in 1975 when Ronald Pierce and Melvin Metcalfe won best sound for ‘Earthquake?’”
I think Kimmel just found himself off the Motion Picture Sound Editors group’s Christmas card list.
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