Strike wraps too late for Oscar promo plans

Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:04am EST
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By Steven Zeitchik

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The return of writers -- and celebrities -- to the full palette of late-night shows comes too late for studios hoping to swell support for their Oscar-nominated films and stars.

"A week or two ago this would have made a difference," one veteran awards consultant said of the tentative deal to end the three-month writers strike. "But most people already know who they're voting for, and most of the nominees are already done promoting their films."

While Oscar balloting doesn't officially close until February 19, five days before the ceremony takes place, the prime campaigning season is essentially over, with the nominees lunch and assorted guild ceremonies already in the books.

Few nominees are expected to fly to a city for just one taping, though guests might do a one-off in their own city. On Wednesday, for instance, supporting actress nominee Amy Ryan ("Gone Baby Gone") will appear on "The Late Show With David Letterman."

One of the highest-profile late-night shows signaled its return Monday as sources said that "Juno" star and best actress nominee Ellen Page would host "Saturday Night Live" on March 1, the series' first program after the Academy Awards.

But the ability to use late-night for the Oscars itself, given the tight turnaround, is tricky. Miramax said it had no plans to book stars from "No Country for Old Men" on "The Tonight Show" or other late-night programs. Other Oscar nominees, such as Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood") and Julie Christie ("Away From Her"), are not big on the late-night circuit anyway.

George Clooney, who might have had a second round of interviews for "Michael Clayton," which Warner Bros. put back into release after its Oscar nominations, might hold back now that he has a new movie to launch in five weeks, "Leatherheads," which he directed, produced and stars in.

Most nominees this season appeared at the usual round of more intimate events like guild screenings, film festival appearances in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara as well as New York dinners thrown by the likes of Peggy Siegal.   Continued...

<p>Fans wait outside the Ed Sullivan Theater for tickets to watch the Late Show with David Letterman in New York January 2, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>