The Hollywood writers' strike is affecting more and more TV shows and films. Many productions have been shut down or postponed. Some late night talk shows, which were closed, have returned but they are writer-less. However, they're still doing well.
A couple of mini movie studios have made separate deals with the Writer's Guild of America to bring back some writers, and on Thursday, Jan. 17, it was announced that the Director's Guild of America has also made a deal with the studios to keep working. Nonetheless, the networks will soon run out of scripted programs and will want to turn to reality shows as their backup.
Besides the loss of popular comedies and dramas, another unexpected loss may occur. The writers' strike, which started on Nov. 5, has started to interfere with the big award shows, which began this month. On Jan. 8, the writers, along with the actors and celebrities who support them, boycotted CBS' People's Choice Awards. On Jan. 13, a similar boycott was held against NBC's Golden Globe Awards. Both those shows suffered severely, not only in terms of production quality, but also a significant loss in ratings. If this writer's strike is not settled soon, the all-important Oscars, which is coming soon, may befall the same fate.
First, without the WGA, there's no one to write the script for the Oscars. Yes, surprising as I know it is, the Oscars is a scripted TV show. Almost nothing about it is extemporaneous. Everything, even down to the acceptance speeches, are written in advance. So, without any writers, no one will know what to say, which maybe wouldn't bother a cast member of a Christopher Guest movie, but honestly most actors are lost without their lines.
Secondly, I'm sure the producers of the Oscars without the writers could probably fashion together some kind of a show. It would be the lamest, most cut-dry show ever, but they could do it. They could salvage something, but the problem comes if the WGA decides to form a picket line around the doors to the Oscars. Most actors have pledged not to cross the picket lines. Therefore, the Oscars will be even lamer if on the day of the show there is no one there to accept the awards, which is kind of the point of the thing.
The date of the Oscars is Sunday, Feb. 24. If the WGA strike continues for that long and the two sides really decide to bleed each other dry, the Oscars could simply be canceled. In an ABC interview, the spokesperson for the Oscars, Leslie Unger, said the Oscars show has never been canceled. She said that as of now all the prep work to put the show together, like set building and catering, is continuing like nothing is wrong.
Most likely the show will go on. This will be the 80th year of the Oscars and in all that time, Hollywood has never passed up the chance to congratulate itself. The closest it has ever come has been three times when the show was delayed. In 1938, a flood in Los Angeles delayed the Oscars for a week. In 1968, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. delayed the Oscars for two days, and in 1981, a death-threat to President Ronald Reagan delayed the Oscars for a night. The ceremony was almost delayed in 2003 as President Bush the same day made his announcement to go to war in Iraq, but if all those events never stopped the show, doubtful a writers' strike will.
Now, I've been watching the Oscars every year for the past 10 years or so. I plan to watch it every year for the next 10 and most likely will watch every year until the day I die. I hope to one day attend the ceremony in person and heaven help me, one day get nominated and physically be a part of the show.
Despite some people saying the award doesn't carry as much weight as it did before, or that the nomination and selection process is so unfair as to be insignificant, I still think the Oscars are important. I like the spectacle of it and enjoy every once and awhile when it has really cool moments like when Halle Berry won for Monster's Ball.
All that being said, I must admit if the writers' strike kills my favorite award show this year, I don't think that I would necessarily mourn the death of the Oscars. And maybe I'm being flippant, but the Oscars could still be awarded but just minus all the pomp and circumstance. The golden statuettes would just have to be mailed out to their respective winners and a mere press release would announce them to the world.
The reason I wouldn't shed a tear if the Oscars did die is really a selfish one and proves how much of a film snob I am. You see, I've been predicting the Oscar winners for about four years now and in my mind I always come up with very convincing arguments as to why, but consistently for four years I have been wrong for the most part for almost every award.
That's right! I'll say it! When it comes to picking Oscar winners, I, the so-called movie expert of Delmarva, fail miserably!!! I have my standards, my opinions and my criticisms, which I feel are always logical, but more often than not, I wind up in the minority. There's plenty that I like, plenty of movies that I think are great. But again, consistently my top picks are usually most people's last picks.
It leads me to think that as much as I may want to exist in Hollywood, I probably would not be able to find a lasting career for myself there. I'm certainly not mainstream. Most mainstream movies turn me off. I like indie films, esoteric and sometimes obscure cinema. I can be entertained by the occasional popcorn flick, but I certainly don't prop them up. My tastes can be slim and specific. I may always be doomed to be an outsider.