Why the 2022 Oscars are at the center of controversy

Will you be watching the Oscars?

The 2022 Oscars are on 27 March but this year's ceremony is at the center of controversy - and possibly the center of a silent protest by all the winners.

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On 22 February, it was announced that eight below-the-line categories - Documentary (Short Subject), Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Production Design, Short Film (Animated), Short Film (Live Action) - will be presented in the first hour of the four-hour long ceremony but will not air during the three-hour long TV broadcast. Instead, those acceptance speeches will be woven into the edit alongside the other 15 categories.

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There was considerable pushback from members across all the guilds but as the Academy continues to try to find ways to improve year-on-year falling ratings, they are going ahead with the new format, leading to Academy members resigning and show bosses scrambling to provide answers.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Dawn Hudson and president David Rubin told Deadline that they wanted to make it clear that the ceremony does officially start at 4pm and that "nominees can rest assured it will be a full audience in their seats, not seat fillers".

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However, they confirmed that the red carpet will still be ongoing until 5pm and it appears that tickets will have different times to ensure that there is a staggered arrival which they hope will "avoid the usual crush and will make sure that everyone connected with the nominated films in the eight categories" will be inside when needed.

But their assurances have fallen on many deaf ears, and the Coen Brothers longtime sound mixer Peter Kurland, and Martin Scorcese's collaborator and sound mixer Tom Fleischman have both resigned from the Academy.

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"I can’t imagine a purpose for staying in an organization that doesn’t respect my craft anymore," Peter told The Hollywood Reporter.

But things will come to a head on Sunday when it is thought a silent protest will take place.

Members of the sound branch are planning to wear their guild badges upside down, and Karol Urban, President of the Cinema Audio Society confirmed the protest might go one step further, with winners accepting their awards upside down as well.

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In a statement, they 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."

Producer Will Packer has stood by the Academy's decision, however, sharing that "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."

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