A contingency plan that would include history, film clips and out-of-the-ordinary concepts for the 80th annual Academy Awards show is in the works, academy president Sid Ganis told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
With the writers strike dragging dangerously close to the Feb. 24 telecast, the film academy is planning two Oscar shows: “The show we would love to do and ... a show that we would prefer not to do,” Ganis said.
The traditional, star-studded glamour-fest is in the works in case an agreement is reached. If not, organizers are working on a second show that will include “history and packages of film and concepts that are not normally ones that we would have for the show if we were moving straight ahead.”
The show will go on regardless of talks status, he said.
“We have an obligation to the art form to present the Oscars, so we have to deal with the possibility of not being able to do the show because of pickets or agreements not being concluded,” Ganis said.
Meanwhile, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is talking with striking writers, said spokeswoman Leslie Unger. She declined to provide details.
“We have made contact with the guild,” Unger said. “We want to be able to do the kind of Oscar show that we always do, and we want to create the circumstances that will allow us to do that.”
Whether or not the strike is resolved by showtime on Feb. 24, producer Gil Cates hopes writers will decide not to picket the Academy Awards.
“This show, in my view, is really above politics,” he said. “It is wrong to treat the show as anything other than a gift from all the people who work in this business, really, to the exceptional talent and the community and the country.”
He noted that the writers guild has said its members will not picket next month’s Grammy or Image awards.
“It’s hard for me to believe that they would picket a show that really honors their own,” Cates said.
Nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced last week. In past years, presenters were announced one-by-one before or shortly after the nominations, but none have been named so far this year.
Final ballots were mailed Wednesday to the 5,829 voting members of the academy. They are due back Feb. 19.