Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I guess the Oscars will have a lot more crappy interpretive dancing this year....

From the AP:

LOS ANGELES - Two of Hollywood's most glamorous events are now caught up in the entertainment industry's ugliest labor dispute in two decades. The Writers Guild of America, West, will not allow its members to write for the Golden Globes on Jan. 13 nor the Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

The group's board of directors decided not to give the academy an interim agreement for writing services, a person close to the guild said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to comment. The person declined to say when the decision had been made.

The guild's decision raised the temperature in the already heated contract dispute between writers and studios. Talks aimed at ending the costly strike, now in its seventh week, broke down Dec. 7 in a flurry of insults that has yet to cease.

After talks ended, the alliance claimed guild leaders were trying to increase their power at the expense of members. Union leaders accused the alliance of "lies" aimed at sowing doubt and dissension in union ranks.

Now the guild is casting the strike shadow over the Oscars, the industry's key showcase for its finest films and hottest actors. The Golden Globes represent another important promotional vehicle.

The guild made a similar move before the 1988 Oscars when writers last walked out on studios. That strike lasted five months.

With the strike drawing support from the Screen Actors Guild, which faces its own contract negotiations next year, actors' participation as Oscar guests and presenters might be affected — diminishing the star power that drives TV viewership.

Jon Stewart, a writers guild member, was announced as host of this year's Academy Awards, but he has honored the strike: His "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central has been in reruns since the walkout began.

An e-mail sent to Stewart's publicist seeking comment was not immediately returned Monday night.

(To read more, read here.)

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Man, I hope they fix this writer's strike, and soon. Otherwise, I'm going to have a harder time watching all the winners grab their trophies than ever before. Think about it, if Diablo Cody wins for her Juno screenplay (that's right, she cannot make a clever or witty speech, lest she be accused of preparing one and thus breaking the strike.

And the whole deal with John Stewart is just totally effed. I was so excited to hear he was going to be hosting again, but this WGA strike means no writing jokes, or according to some sources, live improvisation. We reported two weeks ago on the show that actors who are also WGA members were prohibited from ad-libbing on productions that began filming during the strike. My guess is that the same will apply for the Oscars, too.

I want writers to be compensated for their work, but I think the ban on the Golden Globes and the Oscars especially is a bit excessive. The only entertainment workers besides producers who get paid for awards shows are the writers. The rest of the money the awards show brings in goes to the preservation of classic cinema and film history. Actors and actresses who present the awards just get a basket full of swag (which is now taxable, apparently). Also, the Oscars aren't re-ran - nor do they sell massive numbers of DVD's. I mean if Letterman can strike a deal, why can't the Academy?

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