The Alliance of Women Filmmakers (AWFC) has issued a statement condemning the decision of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences not to broadcast the category of best original music live during this year’s Oscars.
The academy for the first time reaffirmed its decision to present several Oscar categories outside of the live broadcast on Tuesday, March 27 via letter from President David Rubin, who was sent to the Academy. The letter explains that these awards will be presented an hour before the chamber ceremony, and the telecast will include videos from the performances. Other categories, apart from the score, which will not be awarded live this year, are short documentary, short animated film, short film, editing, make-up and hairstyle, design and sound. Moving generated an instant controversy among industry veterans, and the American Film Editors Guild issued a public statement condemning the decision.
A statement from AWFC signed by key members of the alliance, including President Catherine Joy, expressed frustration at the Academy for lowering the original score and seven other categories from the live show, noting that the decision sends a message that the work recognized by people in categories do not matter. Although the letter confirms the Academy’s desire to streamline the ceremony, he urges them to find a way to do so that still respects the masters important to making films.
“Transferring the award from the live broadcast and editing it will worsen the importance of this category,” the statement said. “What message does this decision give to young people who dream of becoming a composer, to follow in the footsteps of composers like Hildur Gudnadotir, Rachel Portman, Anne Dudley and Germaine Franco? We feel like it gives the message that music doesn’t matter Oscar».
The statement also notes that this year’s category of original scores is an important milestone with the inclusion of Franco, the first color woman to be nominated for an Oscar, and the first woman in history to write a Disney feature film. The statement said that Franco’s victory could be a historic moment. By not broadcasting it live, the Academy would have reduced its influence. The statement also cites past wins in the starting point category, such as first black winner John Batiste in last year’s “Soul” or third woman winner Hildur Gudnadotir for the 2019 Joker, as preliminary examples of inspiring and important moments that would have been erased. if the Oscars hadn’t included them live.
The AWFC was first established in 2014. Since its inception, it has grown to more than 550 members worldwide. Read their full statement below:
The Alliance for Women Film Composers is very disappointed with the exclusion of the category of score composers and seven other categories that highlight the wide range of creative artists involved in the filmmaking process.
Germain Franco, nominated for Best Original Score, is making history this year by being the first colored woman ever nominated in this category and the first woman to ever write a Disney film. One thing we’ve seen throughout the history of the Oscars is the power of representation. It can change lives and inspire future creatives. Last year, John Batiste, who received the best original score for the animated feature film The Soul, became only the third black composer to win in the category of original scores after Prince and Herbie Hancock. What such historical moments will be hidden from Academy Awards broadcast is a great shame.
In 2020, Hildur Gudnadotir received the Oscar for Best Original Score after passing the round of awards. A quote from her welcome speech, which was fully seen on air, was published in the LA Times and many other publications the next day and continues to inspire people around the world: “Girls, women, mothers, daughters who hear music that boils inside when please speak. We need to hear your voices. “
Wouldn’t it be a shame if this moment was edited and we didn’t see Gal Gadot, Bree Larson and Sigourney Weaver presenting the award for best original music, focusing on female artistry? If we hadn’t seen Hildur being declared an Oscar winner, her emotional reaction, her appearance on stage and a complete unedited speech about acceptance, it would have deprived young people around the world of an inspiring moment.
And that’s what the Academy is trying to do this year. Carrying over the award from a live TV broadcast and editing it will worsen the importance of this category. What message does this decision give to young people who dream of becoming a composer, to follow in the footsteps of composers such as Hildur Gudnadotir, Rachel Portman, Anne Dudley and Germain Franco? We believe this gives the message that music doesn’t matter for the Oscars.
The Alliance of Women Filmmakers hopes that AMPAS will reconsider its decision and give equal importance to all categories so that nominated artists can be seen and heard by audiences around the world who want their voices to be heard in the future. Music matters to people all over the world – and we hope that AMPAS will give it the meaning it deserves!
We call on the Academy to streamline the awards, and give priority to inclusive representation and note all categories.
Alliance of Women Filmmakers
Catherine Joy is the president
Sharon Farber is vice president
Esin Ozlem Idingos is the secretary
Thomas Mikusz is the treasurer
Alison Newman is director of friendship and advocacy