Recalling Oscar's past brush with strike

Fri Dec 7, 2007 7:55am EST
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Consider this scenario: In the week preceding the Academy Awards, the Academy president announces that if the strike is not settled by the time the Oscar broadcast is to air, then the show will not go on. "Under no circumstances would we expect anyone to cross a picket line," the Academy president says.

Preparations for the show are ongoing -- the union has granted a waiver for rehearsals but has not yet offered one for the show itself -- but the Academy reiterates, "If the strike is still in progress, the show will not go on."

The next day, the Academy reconsiders. The show will go on, but instead of being broadcast by ABC, it will become a stage event that only ticket-holders will witness live.

"We have notified the ABC network and our sponsors that our responsibility to the motion picture industry, moviegoers throughout the world, our membership and our cast to present the Academy Awards on schedule supersedes any benefits that might be derived from postponing the event until it could be aired on national television at a later date," the Academy says.

The threat of a broadcast-free Oscars lingers over the weekend. Pessimism grows. "It seemed unlikely at a late hour last night that the strike would be settled," says The Hollywood Reporter. The paper notes, however, that growing union support and increased pressure from advertisers "might yet lead to a settlement."

And then, three hours before the Oscars are to begin, the strike is settled. The Academy Awards air on ABC as planned.

Talk about a cliffhanger.

This, though, is not some future script, a sort of worst-case scenario should the monthlong writers strike continue into late February. It's a bit of Hollywood history.   Continued...

<p>Dena D'Angelo works on an Oscar statue which is being prepared for the 80th Academy Awards at a storage facility in Saugus, California October 10, 2007. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>