Will anyone even be able to watch the Globe and Oscar results on television because of the writers strike?
Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members who vote on the Golden Globes also get their final ballots this week, with a return deadline of Jan. 9.
Meanwhile, the Screen Actors Guild mails its final ballots Friday, all due back on Jan. 25, just two days before their awards gala. That event looks like a definite go, thanks to the actors' cozy relationship with the Writers Guild of America, which has provided the group's annual ceremony a waiver.
NBC still insists the Golden Globes will air on the network Jan. 13 as scheduled. This despite the WGA's denial of a waiver and apparent intention to send its pickets to the Beverly Hilton that night, an action almost certain to result in no-shows from many, if not most, acting (and writing) nominees and presenters.
Since the Globes are all about Hollywood glamour, a gala that mixes movie superstars with big TV names and draws a huge viewing audience, will those viewers be content to watch if the stars boycott, making the biggest names on the red carpet Jeff Zucker and Les Moonves?
The spectacle of watching the writers picketing a show produced by other writers (the HFPA is comprised of nearly 90 Hollywood-based foreign journalists) is one of many ironies in this strike-challenged awards season.
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Increasingly, many in the industry are questioning the wisdom and fairness of the WGA's waiver policy, which grants a free ride to SAG's show, the Independent Spirit Awards and others while pointedly denying the same thing to the Globes and, most likely, the Oscars.
All these events are meant to celebrate the artist, including writers, and in fact (more so than SAG and the Spirits) the Oscars are a product of the motion picture academy, which is partially made up of writers.
The leadership of the WGA is clearly counting on the actors to hold hands with them (in effect, a de facto actors strike when it comes to these particular award shows) and make a statement by aiming their torpedoes at the largest media targets they can find.
Since they haven't yet been successful in getting the producers to come back to the bargaining table, it appears they have adopted a policy to go after the biggest guns they can find -- the Globes and the Oscars -- in order to hurt the networks and studios both financially and in the court of public opinion.
The WGA, in reference to its policies regarding the Oscar and the Globe galas, says the appropriate time to "celebrate" will be when it gets a fair contract. But the guild still seems to have no problem letting the celebrations go on for SAG, the Spirits and of course, their own awards gala on Feb. 9.
Our guess is that when push comes to shove, the Globes go on as planned without an NBC telecast , something that lets the stars attend without crossing a picket line, but which would force the HFPA to give up $5 million in license fees and probably forgo its annual round of charitable contributions that comes from that total.
The first big awards telecast of the season -- the Broadcast Film Critics Assn.'s Critics Choice Awards, Jan. 7 on VH1 -- is unaffected by labor strife since the producing entities are not signatories to the WGA. Producers hope to have their biggest star turnout ever, not only due to the uncertainty of the Globes a week later but also because it's a good showcase, as academy voting is still going on then (nominations will be announced Jan. 22) and VH1 will be running the show at least four times during the week.
As for the Oscars, nothing has stopped that show from airing since its TV history began in 1953 -- although a strike in 1967 almost did the trick.
That year, the academy was planning to hold its show April 10 despite an ongoing strike by AFTRA, the union with jurisdiction over live TV broadcasts.
It appeared likely the Oscars would be seen only by those in attendance at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, which would have cost the academy a reported $700,000 (this year a TV blackout would set the organization back around $30 million).
Even though camera rehearsals proceeded in case of a settlement, the outlook was grim until a miraculous agreement was reached with the union just three hours before showtime.