Academy Member Peter Kurland To Resign Over Oscars Telecast Controversy (Exclusive)

Academy Member Peter Kurland To Resign Over Oscars Telecast Controversy (Exclusive)

Peter Kurland, a four-time Oscar-nominated sound mixer best known for his decades-long collaboration with the Coen brothers, plans to resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over its controversial decision not to present eight categories — including film editing, original score and best sound — live during the Oscars broadcast.

“I can’t imagine a purpose for staying in an organization that doesn’t respect my craft anymore,” Kurland tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I tried to resign today, and they sent me back an email asking me to hold off until next week.”

Kurland will become the second known Academy member to resign in the wake of the telecast plan. As first reported by THR on March 5, Oscar-winning rerecording mixer and decades-long Martin Scorsese collaborator Tom Fleischman resigned from the Academy over the plan. Since then, two additional Oscar winners from recent years told THR that they were considering such a move.

Kurland received Academy Award nominations for the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, Inside Llewyn Davis and True Grit, as well as James Mangold’s Walk the Line. His credits also include the Coen brothers’ Raising Arizona and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, as well as Joel Coen’s currently Oscar-nominated The Tragedy of Macbeth.

As first announced Feb. 22, the Academy plans to present Oscars in documentary short, film editing, makeup/hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live-action short and sound, inside the Dolby Theatre starting at 4 p.m., the hour before the March 27 broadcast commences. It will record and edit acceptance speeches into the subsequent live telecast. The move follows record-low ratings for ABC’s 2021 Oscars telecast.

Kurland says prior efforts to talk with the Academy about its decision went without a response. He also pointed to the planned red carpet show that is scheduled to run until 5 p.m., noting that members were previously told guests would be seated for the 4 p.m. presentation.

“Joining the Academy was one of the most satisfying moments of my professional career. [It’s nominations] had great meaning to me,” Kurland says, admitting, “Now I feel like an outsider.”

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