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Sound editors plan silent protest at Oscars over live telecast cuts

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Oscar-winning Indian sound artiste Resul Pookutty is among a dozen of sound designers, engineers and mixers, who have signed a petition protesting the Academy’s decision to award the sound Oscar during its pre-telecast hour on Sunday.

A source close to the sound branch also revealed that guild members are planning on wearing their guild badges upside down as a form of silent protest over the demotion of crafts at the Oscars, reports ‘Variety’.

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Karol Urban, President of the Cinema Audio Society confirmed the protest might go one step further.

In a statement, Urban said, “This weekend, the Oscars may be turned upside down as we may see winners from all categories accept their Oscars upside down in a silent show of solidarity with the eight affected categories. We are all filmmakers of equal importance.”

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More than 80 people, including 16 Academy Award winners, signed the letter to the Academy.

“As a community of sound artists, we respectfully disagree and are opposed to the changes that are being made for the broadcast of the 94th Oscars ceremony,” says the group’s letter to Academy President David Rubin and ABC.

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“Every film is greater than the sum of all the parts and it only gets made by the joint effort and contribution of all the people involved in creating movies,” the letter continues.

“We all make films together and we need to focus on what we contribute in common, not what divides us.”

According to ‘Variety’, the letter is the artisan community’s latest response decrying the decision to pre-record eight craft categories and show edited excerpts during the live ceremony.

Producer Will Packer has said, “I think it was the right decision. We have to understand that the Academy Awards show as we know it is at an inflection point. The next coming years, especially this year, are going to be a harbinger for what this show will become.”

Among the signers are Oscar winners Steve Maslow, Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Michael Hedges, Myron Nettinga, Ian Tapp and Resul Pookutty, Dane Davis, Tim Cavagin, Jeffrey Perkins, Robert Mackenzie, Niv Adiri and Skip Lievsay and Michele Couttolenc, Carlos Cortes and Jamie Baksht, reports ‘Variety’.

Three of the signers are also current nominees: Mackenzie, Adiri and Paul Massey.

The petition was spearheaded by Carlos Solis, whose credits as sound mixer or re-recording mixer include ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’.

“I hope this changes their position, and that they will go back to presenting all the awards like they always have,” Solis tells ‘Variety’.

The plea to present all 23 categories live during the ceremony has continued since the controversial announcement. In a Variety artisans special report, five crafts people shared their dismay over how the ceremony is being executed.

Filmmakers James Cameron, Jane Campion and Guillermo Del Toro have also spoken out about the reformatting decision.

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