Friday, January 11, 2008

The show musn't go on

Amid all the tremulous talk of the Oscars being canceled as a result of the writer's strike, there's one option I've not seen anyone mention: simply postpone the ceremony.

If talks between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers don't resume soon, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences oughta put the gold statues on ice and wait it out. Will anyone really mind if the red carpets are only unfurled come spring or --jeepers! -- summer?

Well, yes. All those actresses putting in double shifts at Pilates studios to fit into their Zac Posen and Badgley Mischka gowns may feel a little miffed. And the studios hoping for a boost for specialty films currently in theatrical release stand to lose in the short term if the Kodak theater has to be rebooked. Then again, the film companies could time their DVD releases to coincide with the reskedded show. Actors would also be able to rejoin the campaign trail of the late-night talk shows to stump for their nominations.

Otherwise, it's a win-win for everybody. The actors, directors, and other talent -- including, let's not forget, the writers themselves -- wouldn't have to face the conundrum of crossing the picket line for that rare chance to win an Oscar. Or send in their acceptance speeches via video, like Tuesday night's People's (bad) Choice Awards.

Whatever its decision, the Academy oughta make their plans known soon, since many businesses plan for the event in advance and will make substantial losses without advance warning of a postponement. (And Joan Rivers will need enough advance notice to schedule an embalming.)

In the short term, one winner from all this will be the BAFTA awards. The glamorous British ceremony, hitherto a perennial also-ran function, now stands to fill in for the Golden Globes as the New Hampshire primary of this Hollywood election cycle.

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