Striking writers threaten Oscars
By Gregg Kilday
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A day after the writers strike pulled the rug out from under the Golden Globes, Oscar organizers said Tuesday that preparations for the biggest night on Hollywood's calendar are already behind schedule.
The 80th annual Academy Awards are set to take place in Hollywood on February 24, but not a single bon mot has been written yet. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since November 5, and there is no end in sight, a potentially calamitous situation for the Oscars.
"I'm not going to cite odds, but our hope is we can work something out or that the strike is resolved in time," said Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
"The major change from last year," he said, "is that in a normal year, we'd have assembled a staff of writers, and they would have been working on the show for more than a month."
Following that schedule, writing for this year's show would kick into high gear after the Oscar nominations are announced January 22.
In a typical year, the Academy assembles one group of writers -- often including such frequent contributors as Dave Boone, Carol Leifer and Bruce Vilanch -- while the host brings in a second set of writers. Last year's show required at least 14 writers, including host Ellen DeGeneres.
But this year, the Academy said it hasn't yet hired any writers, and designated host Jon Stewart hasn't brought together his writers either.
Stewart, who initially refused to cross picket lines, returned to the air this week as star of "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" on Comedy Central. He is expected to be on hand at the Oscars, but Academy officials said that if he should withdraw for any reason, they have no Plan B in place. Continued...