When even Jimmy Fallon is upset, you know the 2022 Oscars backlash is real.
After Academy president David Rubin announced February 22 via email that eight categories — documentary short, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live-action short, and sound — would be pre-recorded for the 94th Academy Awards ceremony, otherwise live from the Dolby Theatre March 27, Hollywood has had something to say.
“The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon took a jab at the debate during his February 23 show, quipping, “Even more insulting, before the awards are presented the announcer will say, ‘And now, the categories nobody cares about.’”
Fallon continued, “If they really want to shorten the broadcast, maybe just skip the part where someone explains what an actor is.”
Similarly, Jimmy Kimmel suggested on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” that the Academy “should go even further” and just rip the Band-Aid off: “Boil it down to Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture, and we can all get to sleep,” he joked.
Per Rubin’s email, the rationale is “to increase viewer engagement and keep the show vital, kinetic, and relevant,” emphasizing that “all the nominees in ALL awards categories will be identified on air and ALL winners’ acceptance speeches will be featured on the live broadcast. Every awarded filmmaker and artist in every category will still have the celebratory ‘Oscar moment’ they deserve on the stage of the Dolby, facing an enrapt audience.”
This is the second time that the Academy has attempted to cut live airtime for select craft and short categories in an effort to boost ratings. In 2019, cinematography, editing, make-up and hairstyling, and live action short were slated to be cut from the broadcast, but the Academy reversed its decision after the cinematography community especially voiced their disapproval.
Now, in 2022, the crafts guilds are taking a stand. Alan Heim, president of the Motion Pictures Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, shared with IndieWire that the modified telecast makes the “invisible art” of editing “even less visible.”
“The Oscars should be a night to celebrate all of the labor and artistry that combine to bring stories to life on the screen, and we think deserving craftspeople have more than earned their time in the spotlight,” Heim said.
Additionally, the American Cinema Editors Board of Directors (ACE) released the following written statement:
“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. 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. Our contributions to that collaboration may sometimes appear invisible but they are 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.”
Mark A. Lanza, president of the Motion Picture Sound Editors, IATSE Local 700, clapped back at the Academy, saying, “The bill of goods the sound branch was sold just last year when 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. I am still not OK with this part either.”