Another day, another voice in the chorus of complaints about changes to the Oscars telecast.
For the last month, much of Hollywood has been up in arms about the provocative decision to eliminate eight Oscar categories from the live ABC broadcast, with executive producer Will Packer opting instead to pre-tape the below-the-line categories and edit the acceptance speeches into the show to save time.
One of those categories is Best Film Editing, and Hollywood’s top editors are none too happy about the move. American Cinema Editors, the organization devoted to honoring film editing that hosts the prestigious ACE Awards, has released a letter imploring the Academy to change the decision (via The Hollywood Reporter).
“The Academy Awards have always been about the art of cinema, and editing is unique to film; it is a creative process that was born when motion pictures were invented,” the group wrote. “Without editing there would be no movies.”
They went on to say that their issues with the decision go beyond editing, writing that “we speak not only for ourselves, but for composers, art directors, and the others sidelined by this plan. The stated mission of the Academy is ‘to recognize and uphold excellence in the motion picture arts and sciences, inspire imagination, and connect the world through the medium of motion pictures.’ How can this be done without equally upholding the contributions of each of the creative filmmaking disciplines?”
“Treating certain categories differently from others has struck a nerve within our community,” the statement continued, “with the overwhelming majority of our membership feeling unheard, disrespected, and abandoned by the very same Academy which so many of us have supported for decades.”
Much of the discourse around the Oscars broadcast centers around the tension between the desire to honor everyone who works in film and the need to improve the show’s dwindling ratings. Supporters of the decision have argued that if ratings keep falling, the Oscars themselves will become less and less relevant, which is a disservice to every future winner (and nominee). The ACE acknowledged this issue, but still doesn’t want ratings improvements to come at the expense of their own category.
“While editors can empathize with the need to balance honoring art with the popularity and viewership of the event, we must restate our belief that the decision to cull these categories in the manner described is not the solution to the dwindling ratings,” they wrote. “There are other creative and entertaining ways to shorten a show — we know, that’s what we do! We believe that true fans of the Oscars don’t want to see an evening celebrating the highest honor in our industry reduced to a buzzy variety spectacle.”
The 94th Academy Awards will be broadcast Sunday, March 27 on ABC.