I have watched both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards every year for the past decade with fervor, ever since the Titanic phenomenon hit my elementary school.
I loyally watched the Golden Globe Press Conference and – though I was prepared for the worst – I still expected some glamour. The excitement of every announcement was quickly abated by the next. During the 35-minute broadcast, I pictured in my mind what Johnny Depp would say if he gave an acceptance speech for winning Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for Sweeney Todd, while I cringed at Mary Hart’s so-called jokes with the press’ polite laughter in response.
Hollywood needs this night, and no, it is not to see how perfect “Brangelina” looks. America needs this night. An estimated $130 million hit to the local economy is what is at stake if this event does not go as planned.
Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, still plans have the night go on as it has for the past 79 years.
“The point is we’re going to have a show, and we’re going to give these incredible artists what they’re due,” Ganis said after the announcement of the nomination. “We’re going to present the Oscars on Feb. 24.”
The Academy has a few options to save the most glamorous night in Hollywood.
Jon Stewart is scheduled to host. The Academy needs to let him do his thing. He could get Stephen Colbert (in character) to co-host and there will be at least one or two real laughs that night, instead of the drunken giggles of Jack Nicholson. The pair is doing fine without writers on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, respectively, unlike other late night talk show hosts that will go unmentioned.
The problem is that there may be no stars in the audience. According to news service Reuters, the Screen Actors Guild, a sister union of the Writers Guild of America, said its members would not walk past picket lines. And according to WGA East President Michael Winship, the writers are planning on picketing the event.
“Until we have a deal, until the Writers Guild has a deal with the conglomerates – the studios and networks – our intention is to boycott the Oscars, to picket the Oscars, and to ask our fellow union members at the Screen Actors Guild (to boycott the Oscars),” Winship said. “That’s our plan.”
The Academy should bargain with WGA. The guild has already made deals with independent studios, like Tom Cruise’s United Artists. If the WGA can make a deal with Cruise, they hopefully can make a deal with the Academy.
Then there is always the option of waiting it out – the strike can’t last forever. For 60 years the awards took place in March or early April, though the date changed in 2004. ABC probably changed it to February just to cash in on the annual sweeps.
If the Oscars turn into a press conference, ABC will definitely not cash in. The Golden Globe broadcast had only 5.8 million people watching, which is considerably low in comparison to the 20 million who watched it last year.
The Academy and the WGA have ways to make this night happen. It is, after all, Oscar’s 80th birthday.
Candace Kaw is a junior majoring in mass communications and history.