Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Joins Oscar Protest

The Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild, IATSE Local 706, has joined the protest of the Motion Picture Academy’s decision to hand out four Oscars – including those for Best Makeup and Hairstyling – during commercial breaks at the February 24 telecast on ABC. The Academy’s move, made official Monday, was made in order to bring the telecast in at under three hours.

“We know from some of our members, as talented artists and professionals, that they are disappointed by the Academy’s decision to handle various awards in this fashion, even if on a rotational basis,” Local 706 president Julie Socash said in a statement Friday. “As IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb made clear in his statement, our members are ‘the core of any motion picture production.’ While we are looking forward to the Oscar telecast, our focus right now is on this Saturday night’s Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards, where our members’ artistic contributions will be honored with the dignity our craft deserves.”

On Wednesday, Loeb demanded that the Academy “reverse course and treat all categories with the respect they deserve.” His demand was followed by protests from IATSE’s Cinematographers Guild and the Editors Guild, whose members will also receive their Oscars during commercial breaks, as will the winners for Best Live-Action Short.

The American Society of Cinematographers and the American Cinema Editors, two honor societies, have also joined the wave of protest. Top ASC officials met with Academy president John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson late Thursday night to present their case.

More than 100 high-profile directors, actors and cinematographers, meanwhile, have signed a letter urging the Academy to reconsider.

The Academy’s officers responded Wednesday with a statement addressing those concerns, saying that “We’d like to assure you that no award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others. Unfortunately, as the result of inaccurate reporting and social media posts, there has been a chain of misinformation that has understandably upset many Academy members.”

The four categories in question, the Academy said, will be taped and the winners’ speeches will be shown during the broadcast, although the walk-ups and the nominees’ clips will not be shown. The plan is that next years, four different awards will be presented during ad breaks.

The sixth annual MUAHS Guild Awards honoring the year’s achievements in make-up and hair styling in film, TV, commercials and live theater are Saturday night at the The Novo by Microsoft at L.A. Live.

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