Oscar-winning sound mixer Tom Fleischman has resigned from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the Academy’s decision to cut eight categories from the live portion of this year’s Oscars broadcast.
Fleischman is a longtime collaborator of Martin Scorsese and won a Best Achievement in Sound Mixing Oscar for “Hugo.” Fleischman was also nominated for an Oscar four other times for “Silence of the Lambs,” “Reds” and Scorsese’s “The Aviator” and “Gangs of New York.”
The affected categories, just for reference, are: Documentary (Short Subject), Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Production Design, Short Film (Animated), Short Film (Live Action), and Fleischman’s category, Sound. They’ll be presented in a more sparsely attended ceremony just before the broadcast, with shortened, edited footage edited into the live broadcast in some way.
“The Academy’s mission is to honor the craft of filmmaking in all its parts. Eliminating certain categories from the live broadcast degrades that mission,” Motion Picture Sound Editors president Mark A. Lanza said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the news about Fleischman’s resignation.
The overwhelming response from within the industry and from invested fans was fairly intense outrage over what many critics said was an insult to the people in the affected categories.
Many people dinged the Academy for a decision they argued won’t actually bring in new viewers but might alienate the viewers that keep tuning in. Others pointed out that five of those categories — film editing, makeup and hairstyling, music (original score), production design, and sound — are actually the crafts without which film as we understand it wouldn’t exist.
Still others argued that some of those affected categories actually are popular with general audiences, particularly original score.