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IATSE Union Calls Oscars Shift ‘Detrimental’ to Film Industry, Urges Academy to ‘Reconsider’

The "deviation" to pre-record eight Oscars categories comes at a cost for Hollywood, says the IATSE president.

General view of Oscar statue at the 94th Academy Awards nominees luncheon on Monday, March 7, 2022, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP)

Oscars

Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) is calling out the 94th Academy Awards ahead of the ceremony on March 27. 

IATSE, the largest union representing behind-the-scenes workers in North America, issued a statement slamming the Academy’s decision to pre-record eight crafts and shorts categories and edit them into the otherwise live event. 

“By the nature of our jobs, behind the scenes, workers get little recognition as is, despite being the backbone of every production,” IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said. “The Academy Awards has been virtually the only venue where the very best on and off the big screen, above and below the line gather to honor each other’s incredible contributions through their crafts, inspiring millions who tune into the TV Broadcast in the process. We believe a deviation for some crafts and categories but not others is detrimental to this fundamental purpose.”

Loeb continued, “While the Academy made accommodations to include these categories in the broadcast, our position remains that the awards should put all the positions that make pictures possible on equal footing. If the winners walk away with the same trophy, then the winners deserve the same recognition. I urge the Academy to reconsider.”

Since the Academy announced its decision last month, crafts guilds, filmmakers, and crew members alike have voiced their disdain for the “demeaning” decision.

Writer-director Edgar Wright took to Twitter to call out the decision, saying each category “deserves the same spotlight.” “Nightmare Alley” director Guillermo del Toro similarly said this was “not the year” to make any changes to the Oscar broadcast, and signed an open letter along with James Cameron, Kathleen Kennedy, and more than six dozen other industry insiders urging the Academy to “reverse” the decision. Steven Spielberg additionally shared that he “disagrees” with the Academy.

The eight categories that will be pre-recorded consist of animated, documentary, and live-action shorts, as well as editing, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design, and sound. It’s reported that “Dune” co-stars Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa will present the categories at the Dolby, just before the ceremony begins at 5 p.m. PT.

The 94th Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 27.

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