Will the writers’ strike shut down the Oscars? It’s unlikely; although the WGA managed to scare the Globes out of a ceremony, few believe the Oscars will suffer the same fate. Why? Because they’re the Oscars.
With the big event more than six weeks away, most industry insiders are unwilling to comment on the issue.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is moving ahead with their annual plans to prepare the show. The Globes did the same thing, and ended up losing millions of dollars in production costs (not to mention 10’s of millions in ad revenue). But the Globes are second-rate Oscars. And many actors, directors and producers were happy to have one less red-carpet event to attend this year.
If the Oscars are going to score the official green light from the WGA, what needs to occur? Essentially, the writers’ strike needs to end. That way, the stars won’t worry about crossing picket lines. That way, the Academy won’t worry about what happens when the WGA refuses to sign a waiver that will permit film clips to be used during the award ceremony.
What needs to happen before the writers’ strike ends? First and foremost (as of today), the Directors Guild needs to renew it’s own contract with the producers alliance, thus setting some sort of precedent on how to handle the internet residual issue. While the DGA and AMPTP meet for discussion this week, the writers remain in picket lines.
Talks between the WGA and AMPTP were halted on December 7, after the producers asked the writers to remove half a dozen of their proposals from the table, and the writers pretty much said, “Fu-q.”
It’s a battle of wills from here on out. One writer at Entertainment Weekly insists that if talks resume, the strike could end within three days. “But it won’t,” the writer laments, since producers only want to play hardball and win, rather than play smart-ball and negotiate.
You can bet that the heads of the WGA are relishing the fact that Oscars are approaching, and planning their strategy accordingly. These next few weeks should be huge. There will be blood.
In other industry news, the Globes picked their winners today: Atonement scored best picture in the Drama category, while Sweeny Todd took top honors for a musical or comedy. Daniel Day-Lewis, Julie Christie, Johnny Depp, Marion Cotillard, Javier Bardem and Cate Blanchett all won statues in the acting category. Coen brothers took an award for best screenplay, and Julian Schnabel won for best director (Diving Bell and the Butterfly).
And it was a sad weekend at the box office. Not that tickets sales were down: quite the contrary, but lame comedies The Bucket List and First Sunday pulled in more dough than the super-smart Juno. I guess I should be used to crappy movies pulling in more money than good ones, but it continues to break my heart.