Infighting in Academy Grows After Broadcast Changes Sideline Artists

Credit: Getty
This was a brutal Zoom call with ripple effects throughout the industry. 

After the Academy unveiled its plan to cut the winners of Best Editing and seven other categories from this year’s live Oscar broadcast in hopes of reviving viewership, members of the affected parties and their allies began to sound off on social media. The anger and vitriol have continued, and are now bleeding into the Academy itself, where infighting is ever-present thanks to these new changes. 

The Hollywood Reporter spoke to many Academy members who seem to be relatively split on the reaction and how the establishment should move forward. 

Laura Karpman, a governor of the music branch, said in a statement, “I am shocked that the officers of the Academy denied the Board of Governors the opportunity to vote and participate in the decision to exclude the music branch in the live broadcast. This is literally a wound in the heart of the music community. Thank you to the many members of the music branch who have spoken out. I hear you loud and clear. I stand with you.” 

While the Best Original Song will still be presented live, the Best Original Score will be selected off the air. Acceptance speeches are still broadcast, but the presenting is not. 

Ava DuVernay, a governor of the directors branch, said in a statement, “Respectfully, and I had no part in the decision, but the word 'excluded' is a powerful one for many. It has a particular and heightened meaning to many. And as the music branch winners and nominees and speeches will be fully included in the broadcast, I think it’s important to call things by their right name so as not to minimize the meaning of true exclusion in these spaces.”

 Howard Cohen, co-president of Roadside Attractions, wrote, “As an AMPAS member, as an attendee in person at 7 of the last 8 ceremonies and as someone who deeply respects the craftspeople moved to non-live slots, this ceremony MUST change if it wants to continue on a commercial network. The few people upset by this change are worth it if the program can improve. It’s gone down a narrow indie-driven path for the last 15 years. Why bother being on ABC if you ignore the audience?”

Credit: Andrew H. Walker/REX/Shutterstock
But does this need to be on a network? Do people need to watch the Academy Awards on ABC? What if they set up a free live stream to YouTube? What if they did things for people who care about the movies, and not people who care about ratings?

Why are we working so hard to make the Academy Awards a TV show anyone outside of Hollywood cares about? Ratings have been down for years. No one cares

Behind the scenes, people are chatting.

No Film School spoke with two Academy members (who asked not to be named) who were very upset that the Academy Awards were making changes for a shorter broadcast when a high percentage of the population who watches them does not care about length—they care about movies.

Another member bemoaned the idea that the Academy Awards needed to be a TV event that draws in ratings, saying they think the future is just streaming them somewhere so that everyone can be involved and feel important. 

This fighting is set to come to a head next week, when the Board of Directors meets for the first time, in public, to discuss these changes and more. We'll keep you updated.      

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1 Comment

I no longer watch the Oscars, due to the lack of movies of interest to me. I am nearly 70 yrs old and do not blame them for not making movies of my interest, but I think the lack of interest in the Oscars is due to a lack of in the movies that are winning the awards. I have no iron in the fire, no stake in the winners. I do not care which superhero movies win best oscar. I used to follow with passion, wanting certain actors or movies to win, ready to debate how the academy right or wrong? It is not just the Oscars, I used to wait with bated breath for the next bond movie. I might have just aged out of it all. I love clever movies, low-budget movies with high aspirations, great acting, at my age like "Breaking the waves", I just don't give a shit about superheroes, you are about 60yrs too late, I was superman with my own costume at age 4. I want my mind to be stimulated more than my eyes assaulted. I do not expect to see movies that are epic like 2001 or Lawerence of Arabia that stimulate my thinking and excite my eyes with images that are like fine art. Instead, the Oscars to me are industry pats on the back about movies I don't care about.

March 4, 2022 at 12:01PM


A great film has several facets that make it up and only when you bring together the right combination of talent from each genre will the film be successful. Why do you think the credits in these films are so long otherwise? The Oscars have been one of the very few known events here so far that have given equal recognition to this grandiose assemblage of masters of all artistic genres. If ratings suffer, it's because the subject matter isn't presented attractively enough, not because individual genres are boring or the event as a whole is too long. Should the first moon landing have been cut because Armstrong took too long to get out? If you reduce the event to actors, producers and directors, you take away the mystical magic that distinguishes it, and what always happens when you stop celebrating a great event and chop it up into slick, well filleted individual parts. The soul evaporates into nothingness.

March 5, 2022 at 8:27AM

Mathias Hundt
Author, DoP at TV