Sound Editors Planning Silent Protest at Oscars Over Live Telecast Cuts

Oscars Statue Placeholder
Michael Buckner for Variety

Dozens of sound designers, engineers and mixers have signed a petition protesting the Academy’s decision to award the sound Oscar during its pre-telecast hour on Sunday.

A source close to the sound branch also revealed that guild members are planning on wearing their guild badges upside down as a form of silent protest over the demotion of crafts at the Oscars.

Karol Urban, President of the Cinema Audio Society confirmed the protest might go one step further. In a statement, Urban said, “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.”


More than 80 people, including 17 Academy Award winners, signed the letter to the Academy, which is posted in full below.

“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,” says the group’s letter to Academy President David Rubin and ABC.

“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,” the letter continues. “We all make films together and we need to focus on what we contribute in common, not what divides us.”

The letter is the artisan community’s latest response decrying the decision to pre-record eight craft categories and show edited excerpts during the live ceremony. Producer Will Packer has said, “I think 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.”

Among the signers are Oscar winners Steve Maslow (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”), Randy Thom (“The Right Stuff”), Michael Semanick and Michael Hedges (“Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”), Myron Nettinga (“Black Hawk Down”), Ian Tapp and Resul Pookutty (“Slumdog Millionaire”), Dane Davis (“The Matrix”), Tim Cavagin and Paul Massey (“Bohemian Rhapsody”), Jeffrey Perkins (“Dances With Wolves”), Robert Mackenzie (“Hacksaw Ridge”), Niv Adiri and Skip Lievsay (“Gravity”) and Michele Couttolenc, Carlos Cortes and Jamie Baksht (“Sound of Metal”).

Three of the signers are also current nominees: Mackenzie (for “The Power of the Dog”), Adiri (“Belfast”) and Massey (“No Time to Die”).

The petition was spearheaded by Carlos Solis, whose credits as sound mixer or re-recording mixer include “Batman Begins” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” “I hope this changes their position, and that they will go back to presenting all the awards like they always have,” Solis tells Variety.

The plea to present all 23 categories live during the ceremony has continued since the controversial announcement. In a Variety artisans special report, five craftspeople shared their dismay over how the ceremony is being executed. Filmmakers James Cameron, Jane Campion and Guillermo Del Toro have also spoken out about the reformatting decision.

See the letter 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:
Steve Maslow
Michael Semanick
Michael Hedges
Myron Nettinga
Paul Massey
Ian Tapp
Dane Davis
Tim Cavagin
Jeffrey Perkins
Michele Couttolenc
Robert Mackenzie
Resul Pookutty
Carlos Cortés
Niv Adiri
Jaime Baksht
Skip Lievsay
Chris Scarabosio
Julian Slater
Martin Hernandez
Greg Russell
Jon Taylor
Bryon Williams
Will Files
Frank Morrone
Beau Borders
Jon Michaels
Frank Kruse
Brandon Proctor
Ryan Robinson
Odin Benitez
Brad Sherman
Michael Babcock
Mathew Waters
Andy Koyama
Scott Hecker
Mathew Iadarola
Frank Kruse
Wayne Pashley

Onalee Blank
Bruce Tanis
Harrison Meyle
Alexis Feodoroff
Andy D’Addario
Jeremy Pierson
Gustavo Borner
Alvin Wee
Dan Hiland
Todd Beckett
Doug Mountain
Jim Wright
Bryan Arenas
Mark Purcell
Rob Young
Fernando Bedoya
Todd Grace
Carlos Sanches
Josh Eckberg
Edward Carr III
Sean Madsen
Alec Rubay
Mark Fleming
Daniel Colman
Carlos Cuevas
Gregory Gerlich
Phil Lee
Geraldo Gutierrez
Sanaa Kelley
Stephanie Brown
Yuri Reese
Rick Santizo
Walt Newman
Daniel Vasquez
Jonathan Wales
Tracie Gallo
Gabriel Coll
Yoav Litman
David Bonilla
Carlos Bedoya
Randy Thom
Carlos Solis
Donald Sylvester

John Ross