Oscar nominations come in tough week for Hollywood

Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:02pm EST
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood tightened its belt a little more on Thursday even as it announced nominations for the Oscars, the movie industry's most glitzy and prestigious awards.

While accolades poured in for Oscar contenders like Walt Disney Co's robot love story "WALL-E," the entertainment company said it was combining two television divisions, ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios, to "address the changing realities of the entertainment landscape."

The company said no immediate job losses would result from combining the ABC divisions, but a spokesman said "everything is on the table," including potential job cuts.

A day earlier, Disney sent voluntary buyout offers to 600 theme park executives.

Disney's actions followed 800 job cuts this week at Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros Entertainment, which scored 21 nominations on Thursday, including 13 for leading Oscar contender "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and eight for "The Dark Knight."

The entertainment industry is facing challenges from declining DVD sales and box office attendance and the digital transformation of broadcast television.

Yearly box office ticket sales fell 0.4 percent in 2008 to $9.6 billion from $9.7 billion, while the number of tickets sold fell 4.8 percent, according to industry tracker Box Office Mojo.

Harold Vogel, an analyst with Vogel Capital Management, said the long-held view that entertainment is recession-proof no longer holds true.   Continued...