The American Cinema Editors gathered with production designers, set decorators and more as a sign of solidarity to push the Academy for inclusivity as they look ahead to the 2023 Academy Awards.
Releasing a video statement that opens with a quote from director Francis Ford Coppola, “The essence of cinema is editing,” the editors addressed the Academy’s decision to trim eight categories from the main broadcast and pre-record the winning speeches in the “Golden Hour.”
The message was direct, “We feel cheated, insulted and angry by the way our art was deemed superfluous in favor of bloated performances and spectacle.” As they pleaded with other crafts to join in the call, they asked that in the future their voice be included in the conversation, “Give us a voice in this process. Let us work together to find a solution that truly honors filmmaking and assure this never happens again.”
Leading up to the Oscars, it was announced that the awards for documentary short, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live action short and sound would be those categories affected.
As shock and outrage rippled through, Variety conducted a “Variety Artisans: Special Report” virtual panel that dug into why AMPAS’ telecast decision cut so deep. Sound editor Randy Thom was joined by editor Myron Kerstein, nominated for “Tick, Tick … Boom!”; hair department head Mia Neal, an Oscar winner for 2020’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”; editor and composer John Ottman, who won for editing for 2019’s “Bohemian Rhapsody’; and director Ben Proudfoot, nominated and eventual winner for the documentary short subject for “The Queen of Basketball.” The much-decorated artisans also took time to share insights into how their craft specialties contribute to the collaborative work of filmmaking.
Ottman called the decision offensive, while Thom said he was deeply offended.
The video statement reflects the sentiment of ACE’s over 1000+ members who have expressed to the ACE Board of Directors that they felt film editing was not treated with the dignity deserved and that these artists were treated as second-class citizens and denied the celebratory experience that other winners had.
Their speeches were cut down. Editor Joe Walker’s speech was trimmed. His full speech applauded his children who had to do school work while listening to him edit “Dune.”
The ACE statement also noted that many editors felt that the broadcast itself was rife with choppy transitions and awkward cut-away shots during the affected categories, only highlighting the odd and insulting circumstances these winners were subjected to. ACE hopes to add their voice to finding a solution so that future ceremonies will reflect a more inclusive and meaningful celebration of filmmaking.