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BEVERLY HILLS (Reuters) - Organizers on Thursday unveiled details of this year's Academy Awards, including Oscar-presenting roles for stars such as Tom Hanks and Nicole Kidman whose presence was in doubt due to the Hollywood writers strike.
Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Gil Cates, producer of the 80th Academy Awards on February 24, were happy to have the strike behind them so they could produce a traditional awards celebration with A-list stars to accept the world's top film honors.
"We are now full steam ahead on what has come to be known as 'show A,"' Ganis told reporters at a news conference.
He said Cates had also been outlining a "show B" had the strike by some 10,500 members of the Writers Guild of America continued into the Oscar ceremony. If that had happened, picket lines would have gone up outside the gala event and few stars who would have crossed those lines to attend.
Without big stars such as Best Actor nominee George Clooney, for legal thriller "Michael Clayton," it is likely audiences would have shunned the 3-hour-plus Oscar telecast on
The strike, which began on November 5 and ended on Wednesday when film and TV writers returned to work, has crippled the U.S. television industry and caused drastic changes to other Hollywood awards shows.
The Golden Globe honors, one of the glitziest annual ceremonies, was transformed into a news conference, and the result was a meager 5.8 million viewers watching it on TV -- about one-quarter the typical 20 million.
But for the Oscars, stars including Penelope Cruz, Renee Zellweger, Denzel Washington and Colin Farrell will be on hand, and nominees such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Javier Bardem, Julie Christie and Ellen Page are also expected to turn out.
Amy Adams will sing "Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted," and Jon McLaughlin will perform "So Close," also from "Enchanted." Both are nominated in the original song category.
The show will be hosted by comedian Jon Stewart with a team of writers that went to work on Wednesday dreaming up jokes, sketches and other movie-oriented bits for Oscar viewers.
"We are behind in the writing, but we'll catch up," Cates said. "It'll be there. You'll hear words. I promise."
"Show B" would have featured film clips of the nominated actors and their movies, a look at Hollywood and Oscar history, and nominated songs with musicians onstage to play the music.
"There is a little part of me -- very small, very very very small -- but a little part of me that would have liked to have done that show just to see how it worked out," Cates said.
"There is no part of me that wanted to do it," said Ganis.