Members of the crafts community gave generally favorable marks to this year’s Oscars presentation, following the outrage surrounding the 2022 Academy Awards in which eight categories were sidelined.
“I’d call it a win for the Academy,” one Oscar recipient from a prior year tells The Hollywood Reporter.
A year ago, eight categories — editing, makeup and hairstyling, production design, score, sound, animated short, documentary short and live action short — were presented an hour before the live telecast, with clumsily-edited excerpts played during the broadcast, a move that was widely-criticized for disrespectful treatment of these branches of filmmaking.
“Last night I was proud to be an Academy member,” sats one of last season’s nominees, whose category was relegated to the non-live portion of that presentation. This year, all categories were presented live, with the telecast including a QR code audience members at home could scan on their phones to learn more about the crafts categories.
“I thought this year was the best of the last several,” says a past Oscar winner, who last season watched the edited version of his category presented on the telecast. “I liked the QR codes for categories, the salutes to Warner and Disney, the shorter song sections and a general feeling of respect all around. All in all, I’d call it a win for the Academy.”
“A pleasant surprise,” says another past Oscar recipient. “The craft awards were given a more balanced inclusion.”
The telecast also gave nods to the crafts in other ways, such as host Jimmy Kimmel holding a boom mic at one point and Emmy-winning editor Taylor Joy Mason on stage with an Avid during the editing award presentation.
Of the bits, one Academy member said, “The staging of the crafts awards presentations was well done, from the presence of the Mitchell camera, the Kimmel bit with the sound boom was cute, and I liked the presence of the editors behind the presenters.”
Overall members praised the diversity in the show but some continue to point out areas of the “bloated” show that could be further improved, including the visual effects team for Avatar: The Way of Water‘s speech getting cut short. It mirrors events from a decade ago, when while accepting the VFX Oscar for Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer had his mic cut off and was played off the stage with the Jaws theme when he began to talk about the bankruptcy of VFX house Rhythm & Hues.
“Must we continue with the cutting off of the VFX winner’s acceptance speech?,” asks one VFX branch member. “I guess we should be happy that they didn’t use the theme to Jaws as the hook.”
A member of the sound branch admitted he was “disappointed” by the presentation script for the sound category (three years ago, the branch combined its two awards, sound editing and sound mixing into one sound award honoring production sound, sound editing and rerecording). “The script only mentioned sound effects,” the source says. “Leave it to writers, who are rarely on set, or even in the editing suites, to misunderstand what the three disciplines do.”
“There is definitely still work to do, but The Academy tried to get it right,” sums up another Academy member, from the editing branch. “Also I’m so overjoyed for Michelle Yeoh. History was made!”