Uncertainty Surrounds Academy Awards

Producers prepping ceremony on a wing and a prayer.

by | January 9, 2008 | Comments

Now that the writers’ strike has reduced the Golden Globes from a glitzy champagne dinner to a press conference, the clock is ticking for the 80th Annual Academy Awards, scheduled for February 24.

Will the show go on? What will it look like? Everyone has questions, but — as The Hollywood Reporter makes clear — nobody has any answers. The Reporter describes the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as “quietly making plans” for the awards, but without writers, the show’s producers have their work cut out for them. The Academy’s executive director, Bruce Davis, admitted as much in the following quote:

“I’m not going to cite odds, but our hope is we can work something out or that the strike is resolved in time. The major change from last year is that in a normal year, we’d have assembled a staff of writers, and they would have been working on the show for more than a month.”

The article even goes so far as to say that the scheduled host, Jon Stewart, is “expected to be on hand” Oscar night — but that if he opts out, producers “have no plan B in place.”

It isn’t all gloom and doom for the Oscars. The Reporter points out that the show’s request for a waiver from the Writers Guild will be based around the fact that the Academy owns the Awards and licenses the show to ABC, much the same way Worldwide Pants owns The Late Show with David Letterman. Also working in the Academy’s favor is producer of this year’s Oscars:

Personal relations also could come into play: Gil Cates, one of the DGA’s lead negotiators, is producing this year’s Oscar show. And in the interest of solidarity, he could argue that the WGA should grant the Academy a waiver just as it did for the SAG Awards.

Ultimately, if the Academy’s overtures fail, the show’s planners will be forced to decide whether it’s better to postpone the Oscars or ask attendees to cross picket lines on their way in — a question that, as the producers of the Golden Globes recently learned, might not have any truly satisfactory answers.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter