IATSE President Becomes Latest to Slam Oscars Pre-Taping Strategy

Five of the eight categories that will be presented before the ceremony are represented by IATSE locals

iatse international president Matthew D. Loeb Oscars
IATSE president Matt Loeb (Courtesy of IATSE)

IATSE President Matthew Loeb became the latest Hollywood figure to slam the move by the Academy Awards to present eight below-the-line categories prior to the live ceremony in pre-taged segments.

Of those eight categories, five of them — Best Film Editing, Hair & Makeup, Sound, Production Design, and Animated Short — are presented to crafts that have IATSE labor representation. The documentary and live-action short categories as well as Best Original Score will also be presented before the live ceremony and edited into the Oscars broadcast.

The category shift was previously floated by the Academy in 2019, but was struck down after a swift backlash from members and Hollywood labor leaders, including Loeb. But now, a year after the lowest ratings in Oscars history, the widely negative feedback has not seemed to sway the Academy in their decision.

“By the nature of our jobs, behind the scenes workers get little recognition as is, despite being the backbone of every production. The Academy Awards has been virtually the only venue where the very best on and off the big screen, above and below the line gather to honor each other’s incredible contributions through their crafts, inspiring millions who tune into the TV Broadcast in the process,” Loeb wrote in a statement.

“We believe a deviation for some crafts and categories but not others, is detrimental to this fundamental purpose,” he continued. “While the Academy made accommodations to include these categories in the broadcast, our position remains that the awards should put all the positions that make pictures possible on equal footing. If the winners walk away with the same trophy, then the winners deserve the same recognition.”

The Academy Awards will air this Sunday on ABC.