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?”

Oscars-statuesCredit: 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.