Dark films and rain clouds loom over Oscar night

Fri Feb 22, 2008 6:02pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Saved at the 11th hour when writers ended their strike, Sunday's Oscars promise plenty of glamour, but dark films, possible rain and a lack of splashy parties threaten to dampen the mood on Hollywood's big night.

Oscar producer Gil Cates has promised a traditional award ceremony filled with stars like George Clooney and Cate Blanchett, and this week host Jon Stewart and his writers have been dreaming up jokes to entertain the tens of millions of viewers worldwide who are expected to watch on television.

The red carpet is ironed, giant Oscar statuettes have been resprayed gold, designer gowns are ready and final Botox injections surely have been booked for 3,000 A-listers, movie moguls, up-and-coming starlets and others invited to the show.

"Phew!" said Sid Ganis, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, when asked how he felt now the show was going ahead. "Very relieved, of course."

There are victims of the labor dispute, however, notably the star-studded parties that follow the world's top film awards. Vanity Fair and pop star Elton John have canceled all or part of their fabled festivities.

Rain also threatens, but in Hollywood where a happy ending is always welcome, there is hope the mood will brighten.

"I'm confident the weather is going to be OK Sunday," said Cates, as rain fell on the plastic covering the red carpet.

Despite the last-minute preparations, the script for the 80th Academy Awards had just been completed, he said, without divulging details of the ceremony's telecast.   Continued...

<p>Daniel Day-Lewis in a scene from "There Will Be Blood". REUTERS/Paramount Vantage/Handout</p>