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Oscar-winning Ford v Ferrari sound editor criticized for using acceptance speech to thank wife

The sound editor who won an Oscar for his work on Ford v Ferrari sparked controversy when he thanked his wife for giving up her own film career to raise their children during his acceptance speech.  

Donald Sylvester opened his speech on the Oscar stage Sunday night by thanking his colleagues before mentioning his family.

‘The real support comes from home, so I want to thank my wonderful wife of 34 years who gave up her editing career for me to pursue my career,’ he said as audience applause suddenly stopped. 

A camera in the audience that was fixated on his elated wife Penny Shaw Sylvester showed the moment a woman sitting behind her abruptly stopped clapping when he made that comment.  

Donald then added: ‘But she raised our kids and she did a great job because neither one of them are politicians,’ drawing a small laugh from the crowd. 

 

Donald Sylvester, who an Oscar for sound editing for his work on Ford v Ferrari on Sunday, has come under fire for thanking his wife for giving up her own career to raise their children during his acceptance speech (pictured)

Penny Shaw Sylvester beamed in the audience as her husband delivered his speech

Penny Shaw Sylvester beamed in the audience as her husband delivered his speech

Viewers quickly seized on the remark on Twitter. 

‘Brava women heroes, sacrificing careers so white men can do what they want & not raise the kids,’ one user wrote.

‘Donald Sylvester winning an Oscar and thanking his wife for giving up her career so he could have a successful career makes my heart hurt for all the women who do that for men that casually squander the opportunity or never succeed at all,’ another added. 

‘If Donald Sylvester’s wife hadn’t given up her editing career for him, would she be on the Oscar stage tonight?’ a third asked.

And Cindy Gallop wrote that Sylvester’s speech ‘celebrates the old old story’ and said that ‘In the future we want lots of women onstage thanking their husbands for doing the same thing.’

Penny addressed the controversy after it was brought to her attention by a reporter for the Deseret News, calling the outraged comments ‘ridiculous’. 

‘For anybody to criticize makes me extremely angry, because they know nothing about my life or my family and the choices we’ve had to make,’ she said.

Several Twitter users took aim at Donald Sylvester after his Oscars speech

Several Twitter users took aim at Donald Sylvester after his Oscars speech

Penny explained that she decided to quit working full time because one of her children, who are now 30 and 25 years old, had special needs and required extra care. 

‘I was paying someone to take care of my special-needs child and I realized they couldn’t do it as well as I could. Nobody knows a child as well as the parents do,’ she said. 

She emphasized that while she did abandon her editing career, she didn’t quit work altogether. 

‘To say that I don’t work is absolutely ludicrous, but what I did do is leave the entertainment industry,’ she said, noting how she became active in the local school district’s special education programs.  

She said she has no regrets over stepping away from film editing, a decision she made on her own, and said she is blessed to have a ‘very rich, fulfilled life’.  

‘I love what I do, I love working with the schools, and I love helping children and helping our community, which I think is so much more productive than just cutting a film,’ she said. 

‘I live in the real world. And I help real people.’

Several of the Twitter critics expressed hope that someone would offer Donald Sylvester’s wife an editing job. 

When asked about those comments, Penny laughed and said: ‘Everyone has choices in life, we all find fulfillment in different ways. I’m not lacking for editing jobs, believe me,’ she said.

Penny (above with her husband on the red carpet) addressed the Twitter outrage after it was brought to her attention by a Deseret News reporter, calling the comments 'ridiculous'

Penny (above with her husband on the red carpet) addressed the Twitter outrage after it was brought to her attention by a Deseret News reporter, calling the comments ‘ridiculous’

She also praised her husband for supporting her decision.  

‘My husband has been amazing. He’s been an incredible father, and so supportive of everything we’ve done,’ she said. 

‘For some people, working is the correct choice; other people, life takes a turn, and you sometimes have to go with that turn.’

She was previously credited with a helping her husband make an important turn in his career when he was considering leaving the industry years ago and Penny suggested that he go into sound-editing.  

The suggestion was a good one – as evidenced by the shiny statuette he won for Ford v Ferrari, a racing thriller starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale.  

Penny’s Hollywood roots extend beyond her own work in the industry and that of her husband.  

Her father was the late British actor Robert Shaw, who was nominated for an Oscar for A Man For All Seasons in 1967 and also played a small role in Jaws.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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