Los Angeles: Academy Awards organizers expressed confidence on Tuesday that this year’s Oscars would take place as planned, inspite of the shocking and unexpected cancellation of the Golden Globes.
Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said Oscars officials were hopeful of a deal with striking writers that would allow the film industry’s biggest annual awards show to go ahead.
The feud between writers and producers claimed its highest profile casualty on Monday when it was confirmed that this weekend’s Golden Globes ceremony, a key highlight of the Hollywood movie awards season, had been scrapped.
The decision to replace the event with a press conference came after Hollywood’s actors union, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), announced that stars would not cross picket lines surrounding the show erected by the Writers Guild of America (WGA).
The WGA has already said its members will not be allowed to write the script for the Oscars, but has not yet explicitly confirmed if it will picket the show, which is being broadcast by the ABC network, one of the companies that is the subject of strike action.
Davis said while the Oscars could probably survive the absence of writers’ input in the ceremony, picket lines would pose a headache, raising the grim prospect of a Globes-style actors boycott.
“I think we could absorb not having writers if they don’t put up a picket line,” Davis told AFP. “But a picket line is a whole new problem,” he added.
Davis said organisers would be able to wait until a few days before the show to certain aspects of the event, comparing it to 2003, when the Oscars took place a few days after the US-led war in Iraq began.
“If you look at the war year in 2003, we were trying to decide do we go ahead with the show or is it going to be awful,” Davis said. “And we finally decided that we would make a decision four days before the Sunday of the show.”
Awards season pundits said that if the WGA pickets the Oscars, the success of the show could hinge on whether the SAG urged actors not to attend the event as they did at the Globes.
The Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers (AMPTP), the organization locked in dispute with the WGA, has hit out at the writer’s targeting of awards shows, comparing it to the Cold War-era boycotts of the Olympic Games during the 1980s.
“Imagine if you had worked hard your entire career in the entertainment business and you have a once in a lifetime shot at being a nominee for an Oscar or a Golden Globe,” an AMPTP statement said.
“Then thanks to WGA picketing you’re not able to show up on the big night. It is like the Olympic athlete who trains their whole life to compete for a gold medal only to have the dream dashed because of a boycott.”
Davis meanwhile said he has struggled to guess the intentions of writers over the Oscars. “I’m reading tea leaves every day, and I really don’t have a feel of what’s motivating them,” he said.
“We are a different organization to the Golden Globes. Most of our members belong to various industry guilds, and they like having a spotlight on them one night a year as do the writers. “But whether that will influence them I don’t know. They’re not mad at us -- they’re mad at the network which broadcasts us.”