More than 80 sound designers, engineers and mixers have signed a letter opposing the Academy’s controversial decision to award the Oscar for Best Sound an hour before the live telecast on Sunday. Members of the sound guild who attend the Academy Awards plan to do so wearing their guild badges upside down in silent protest of the move, which is intended to save time.
Spearheaded by Carlos Solis (Batman Begins), the letter was addressed to ABC and Academy President David Rubin, and read, “As a community of sound artists, we respectfully disagree and are opposed to the changes that are being made for the broadcast of the 94th Oscars ceremony. Every film is greater than the sum of all the parts and it only gets made by the joint effort and contribution of all the people involved in creating movies. We all make films together and we need to focus on what we contribute in common, not what divides us.”
“This weekend, the Oscars may be turned upside down, as we may see winners from all categories accept their Oscars upside down in a silent show of solidarity with the eight affected categories. We are all filmmakers of equal importance,” added Karol Urban, President of the Cinema Audio Society.
Veteran producer Will Packer, who is producing the Oscars this year, has said that he felt “it was the right decision. We have to understand that the Academy Awards show as we know it is at an inflection point. The next coming years, especially this year, are going to be a harbinger for what this show will become.”
That hasn’t sat well with a significant portion of the membership, including the 80+ sound workers who signed this latest communique with the Academy, a group that includes 16 Oscar winners:
Tim Cavagin (Bohemian Rhapsody), Dane Davis (The Matrix), Robert Mackenzie (Hacksaw Ridge), Steve Maslow (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Myron Nettinga (Black Hawk Down), Jeffrey Perkins (Dances With Wolves), Randy Thom (The Right Stuff), Niv Adiri and Skip Lievsay (Gravity), Michele Couttolenc, Carlos Cortes and Jamie Baksht (Sound of Metal), Michael Semanick and Michael Hedges (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), and Ian Tapp and Resul Pookutty (Slumdog Millionaire).
Adiri and Mackenzie are current nominees thanks to their work on Belfast and The Power of the Dog, respectively, while a third nominee, Paul Massey (No Time to Die) also signed the letter, which was made public after Oscar voting closed earlier this week.
The full letter can be found below.
From: Sound Artists from around the world.
To: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC.
We are very saddened by the current world events and the troubled times we live in.
The decisions that people, businesses, corporations and world leaders have to make are really challenging.
We have to regroup and reevaluate all of our actions every day and every second.
As a community of Sound Artists, we respectfully disagree and are opposed to the changes that are being made for the Broadcast of the 94th Oscars ceremony.
Every film is greater than the sum of all of the parts and it only gets made by the joint effort and contribution of all the people involved in creating movies.
We all make films together, we need to focus on what we contribute in common, not what divides us.
The eight categories not presented live are Documentary Short, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music Score, Production Design, Live Action Short, Animated Short and Sound.
We have lost many great artists in our times. Let’s not put these categories in the “In Memoriam” edited section of the broadcast show.
Sincerely yours, Sound Artists:
Edward Carr III