Still waiting for their own Golden Globe good news: producers of the show itself

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Producers of Hollywood’s annual self-congratulation rites have more to fear this year than boring, drawn-out acceptance speeches.

Picket lines could block the red carpet. Fiery, pro-union talk could spew from the podium. Hosts and presenters could unravel without the benefit of a polished script.

Or the most frightening, if unlikely, prospect: Nobody shows up.

While awards shows would hardly be the most sympathetic casualty of the writer’s strike, now in its sixth week, they’d be perhaps the most visible. Studios depend on the season’s buzz to boost box office for specialty films, actors ride recognition into ever-bigger roles, and a whole industry thrives on the ancillary parties and preparations for ceremonies like the Oscars and Golden Globes. ...

So far, it appears the shows will go on. After the Golden Globe Awards nominations were announced this week, actors talked not of turning their backs on the show, but of appearing with pen-and-paper ribbons to signify their support for the Writers Guild of America. Several nominated writers, though conflicted, said they’d plan to be there for the Jan. 13 ceremony.

‘‘A lot of people are suffering and the strike needs to end,’’ said Aaron Sorkin, nominated for the ‘‘Charlie Wilson’s War’’ screenplay. ‘‘But we’ll find a way to have a good time.’’

No one knows yet whether striking writers will decide to target entrances to the Globes, Oscars or Grammys. If they do, attendance will undoubtedly plummet.

‘‘What do you do? I am a WGA member and it would be very hard to cross a picket line. I really wouldn’t do it,’’ said David Cronenberg, director of the Globes-nominated ‘‘Eastern Promises.’’ ‘‘It’s a depressing situation.’’

So far, the only major awards show to get the WGA go-ahead is the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 27. That green light came in the form of a waiver allowing a guild writers to pen narration, produced skits and on-stage banter for the ceremony, guild spokesman Gregg Mitchell said.

‘‘It’s not about the personal choice of our members to participate in the show, to attend the show or to cross picket lines,’’ Mitchell said. ‘‘We leave that to our members.’’

Still, many in Hollywood interpret waivers as tantamount to the guild giving its blessing to an event. Mitchell said no decision had yet been made about whether to grant waivers to the Globes or Oscars ceremony, scheduled for Feb. 24.

It’s unclear whether the guild has been in discussions with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Globes have actively sought a waiver or agreement with the WGA.

‘‘We have reached out to the WGA and asked for some kind of an arrangement ... that will allow us to produce the show the way we’ve always produced it,’’ Globes executive producer Barry Edelman said.

His pitch: ‘‘Why not honor the excellence that this community is capable of putting out? It honors the people who are working on all these projects in all factions of movies and television. Maybe if we can celebrate that for once, it will just bring everybody to a more positive frame of mind.’’

And if there is no waiver?

‘‘We have to start exploring if there’s a way to reformat it so we can make everyone comfortable coming to the show and preserve this 65-year tradition,’’ Edelman said.

Globes-nominated ‘‘Juno’’ screenwriter Diablo Cody summed up the feelings of Hollywood scribes about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association honors: ‘‘I do feel conflicted. I’m thrilled to be nominated, I’m thrilled to be promoting the film, but at the same time I’m in support of the strike ... I want to be there.’’

At least four lower-profile ceremonies have gone on despite the strike. The Kennedy Center Honors and an Elizabeth Taylor fundraising event earlier this month both got WGA waivers. Last month, Jimmy Kimmel ad-libbed his way through hosting the American Music Awards, which filled large blocks of time with performances from Duran Duran, Beyonce, Celine Dion and other musicians.

Spike TV pre-produced a number of segments in advance for its fifth annual Video Game Awards, held in Las Vegas, and Samuel L. Jackson went off the cuff in his hosting duties. But show executive producer Casey Patterson said she got cancellations from nearly all the high-profile actors and actresses who had been planning to attend. (The post-show press release highlighted Don King, Tila Tequila and ultimate fighter Quinton ‘‘Rampage’’ Jackson; previous years’ attendees include Jack Black and Charlize Theron.)

‘‘It was very challenging,’’ Patterson said. ‘‘It was felt. Celebrity talent in Hollywood is incredibly supportive of the writers, which on one hand is great to see, and on the other hand for a show like this, it’s a great challenge.’’

The atmosphere around Hollywood has shifted steadily in recent weeks, with layoffs for TV show crews and delays for some films. Amy Ryan, a supporting actress nominee for ‘‘Gone Baby Gone,’’ said it feels like a ‘‘ghost town’’ on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, where she’s shooting her next movie.

‘‘I really hope it gets settled sooner than later. Because otherwise our awards shows aren’t going to be very funny without our writers. It’ll be a bunch of actors rambling on and rambling on.

She said at the Globes, she’d plan to wear a ribbon with ‘‘little pens and papers.’’

‘‘We’re all being celebrated because we’ve been given really well-written roles,’’ she said. ‘‘Actors are nothing without writers.’’


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on December 14, 2007 3:59 PM.

Big names among Globes, Mitchell Report released on same day was the previous entry in this blog.

Will Jon Stewart still host the Oscars? is the next entry in this blog.

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