Top Hollywood Union Slams Academy for Oscar Night Jilt

More than half the categories dropped from the Academy Awards ”are specific to tasks the union represents”

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)—the largest union for behind-the-scenes show business workers on the continent—has joined the growing number of entertainment industry professionals who are soundly rejecting a plan to cut several categories from the live portion of the Academy Awards broadcast this Sunday.

In a statement on the 160,000-strong union’s website Monday, IATSE President Matthew Loeb urged the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to reverse its decision to tape the presentation of eight awards before the actual telecast and replay some version of them later in the evening.

“By the nature of our jobs, behind the scenes, workers get little recognition as is, despite being the backbone of every production,” Loeb writes. “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 notes that “more than half” of the eight categories under the axe “are specific to crafts the union represents, including Film Editing, Make-up and Hairstyling, Production Design, Animated Short, and Sound.” The other non-gala awards are Documentary Short and Original Score.

The IATSE members are far from alone in their displeasure. Earlier this month, director James Cameron, Jaws composer John Williams and Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy joined more than 70 other film pros in demanding that the Academy put the catergories back where they belong, writing that the plan would “demean” the snubbed artists and “relegate [them] to the status of second-class citizens.”

Although the union is appealing to the Academy, Academy members have suggested pointing the finger at Oscars broadcaster ABC for the unkind cuts, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Disney, which owns ABC, will have to get to that after it deals with the fact that someone forgot to invite their starWest Side Story‘s Rachel Zegler, to the show.

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