Academy Says Oscars Will Go On

What the ceremony will look like, however, is still up in the air.

by | January 17, 2008 | Comments

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has ended weeks of speculation, announcing that this year’s Oscars will go on — writers’ strike or no writers’ strike.

Variety reports that AMPAS is actually planning two ceremonies — one that would retain the show’s normal glamor quotient, to be held if the strike ends before February 24, and a backup, more picket-friendly version, which would “likely…rely on industry heavyweights penning their own speeches and presenting the awards.”

The Academy’s plans came to light as the Directors Guild of America continued its own talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, presumably hammering out the details of a deal. It’s widely believed that the DGA wouldn’t have come to the bargaining table unless an agreement was already close to completion, and the WGA is facing pressure (both internal and external) to use a DGA deal as a template for its own new contract, so the negotiations are attracting an unusually high level of scrutiny. From the article:

Last week’s announcement of the launch of DGA talks provided the biz with its first real burst of optimism since the strike started Nov. 5. Many are viewing the DGA talks as de facto negotiations for the WGA — reasoning that the majors are not going to offer the scribes terms significantly different than what the directors achieve.

That sort of speculation led to two groups of high-profile writers huddling in covert meetings Monday night to discuss what the WGA should do next.

One of those groups, as you might have guessed, is trying to convince the Guild’s leaders “to cool down the rhetoric, use the DGA pact as an opportunity to reopen talks with the AMPTP and make a deal as soon as possible” — but publicly, at least, WGA West president Patric Verrone is dismissing talk of dissention in the ranks, saying:

“There’s unity in the sense that they want a good contract and they want to go back to work. The overriding message I’ve been getting is that the members are buying into our strategy.”

Source: Variety