Animation Guild Condemns Oscar Cut to TV Broadcast

The Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839, has denounced the motion picture Academy's decision to eliminate the animated short Oscar from a live presentation.

“Short Films are critical to showing the diversity of voices in the world, and excluding them from the live broadcast impacts inclusion efforts,” the Guild's executive board said in a statement Monday evening. “Filmmaking is a collaborative undertaking, and each contribution is essential. We are disappointed in the Academy's decision to send a message that some artistic endeavors are less valuable than others. We strongly feel that the artistry behind animated short films and the seven other categories should be presented and accepted in the live telecast.”

Besides the animated short Oscar, the seven other awards that will be shown pre-recorded on the live Oscar telecast are documentary (short subject), film editing, makeup and hairstyling, music (original score), production design, short film (live action), and sound.

These categories will be presented at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood one hour before the live telecast begins. The pre-recorded awards will then be “folded seamlessly” into the live telecast.

Academy president David Rubin told members in a letter that, “For the audience at home, the show's flow does not change, though it will become tighter and more electric with this new cadence.”

The Academy's move has been met with widespread disapproval from the participants in the affected categories. Other groups who have criticized the Academy include the Motion Picture Editors Guild, Set Decorators Society of America, Alliance for Women Film Composers, Society of Composers & Lyricists, Cinema Audio Society, Motion Picture Sound Editors IATSE Local 700, and the American Cinema Editors.

As a sidenote, it's a welcome development to see the Animation Guild championing animation issues beyond worker's rights, something that it has done infrequently in the past. The animation world has long suffered from a lack of powerful groups lobbying for its recognition, and having the Guild take on an activist role in the broader animation community can help to fill that void.