Few things in Hollywood I have not been shocked by the first simultaneous strikes by writers and actors in more than 60 years; in fact, much of the city has come to a complete standstill. With speculation that the work stoppage could continue for the rest of 2023, organizers of many upcoming industry events are being forced to consider how, or even if, they can proceed.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is no exception. It’s the organization behind not only the annual Academy Awards, but many other major events where, in normal times, writers and actors cross paths with executives. Two, the Academy Museum Gala and the Governors Awards, have historically taken place in the fall, but this year they are very much in jeopardy.
An annual, and critically essential, fundraiser for the fledgling Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the Museum Gala has quickly become the West Coast’s Met Gala, drawing comparable big names – and fashion statements – to its first edition in September 2021 (which raised more than $11 million for the institution) and its second edition in October 2022 (more than $10 million). its third edition, THR You’ve heard, it was scheduled to take place on October 14, but plans are still up in the air.
Given the philanthropic motivation of the Museum Gala and the strike-neutral stance of the Academy, whose members include executives, writers and actors, and which recused itself from labor disputes some 90 years ago, it seems unlikely that the unions on strike would prohibit their members from attending or picketing the event.
But, if the strike is still going on at the time of the event, the members themselves could choose to skip it. Many attendees, including some Oscar hopefuls, attend each year as guests of the studios distributing the film they are competing for, who bear the hefty cost of tables (ranging from $250,000 to $500,000) or individual seats ( $25,000). The discomfort of having to hobnob with executives whose companies they are attacking, and the prospect of attending a fancy event while the vast majority of your colleagues, the 99 percent who are neither rich nor famous, are suffering, would surely make many cringe. stop. .
Then there are the Governors Awards, an annual black-tie dinner where the Academy’s board of governors honors four people from the film community with special honors. That event, whose fourteenth edition has already been publicly scheduled for November 18, is not televised and is organized by union workers (from writers to the team), two points that would apparently be in their favor with the unions. But then things get complicated.
The Governors Awards take place in the middle of Oscar season because the Academy calculated, rather brilliantly, it turned out that scheduling it then would make it a hotspot for the big names currently in the running for Oscars to be seen/photographed. /mixed with the Academy. In fact, more stars now attend the Governors Awards than the Oscars, especially since no one has been eliminated from contention when they take place.
But the hefty tab for attending the Governors Awards ($75,000 for a table or $7,500 for a solo seat) is almost always paid by a studio, which then fills its table(s) by inviting key contributors to its films. contenders, including, of course, actors and writers, to sit alongside top studio executives. That dynamic would currently be unsustainable.
Also, two of the four winners of this year’s Governors Awards are, you guessed it, actors: Angela Bassett and mel brooks (also a writer), who will receive honorary Oscars. And if they express reservations about being at the event during the actors’ strike, as seems likely, then it’s hard to imagine the Academy could proceed. The other two honorees this year: film editor carol littletonwho was also selected for an honorary Oscar, and founder of the Sundance Institute michelle satterwho was chosen for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, though highly distinguished, aren’t exactly “household names” that would independently boost ticket sales.
To further complicate matters for the Academy: if the event does It has to be postponed, it really can’t be postponed beyond January 16, 2024, the date that voting to determine the nominations for the 96th Oscars closes, without losing the main incentive for current movie stars to appear. . And we’ve seen what it’s like when that happens: The 12th Annual Governors Awards was pushed back, due to the pandemic, to the Friday before Oscar Sunday in 2022, with far fewer notables in attendance than in other years.
Speaking of Oscar Sunday, the 96th Academy Awards will currently air on Disney-owned ABC on March 10, 2024. And while writers and actors are on strike against the studios, and the disney boss Bob Iger has inadvertently become the face of the studios in the ongoing dispute, it’s very hard to imagine that the Oscars won’t take place on that date. Because? Partly because it seems likely that the entire industry would be decimated if the strikes lasted until March. And partly because a strike, even one in progress one, has never derailed the Oscars.
The 32nd Oscars were held on April 4, 1960, in the midst of the last dual writer-actor strike before this one (finally resolved 14 days later). That night, host bob hope He began his monologue (which you can watch below) by saying, “Welcome to the most glamorous strike meeting in Hollywood,” then added, “I never thought I’d live to see the day when (B-movie actor and later president of the Screen Actors Guild) ronald reagan he was the only actor working” and “Both striking factions are here tonight, and I want to say the best performances of the year are taking place right in the audience.”
Seven years later, the 39th Academy Awards was nearly derailed by a strike by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, in support of which the Directors Guild of America ordered its members not to perform any work, the American Federation of Musicians told its members not to cross the picket lines, and the Academy itself declared: “If the strike is still going on, the show will not go on.”
But, after 13 days, the strike was resolved within hours of the scheduled start of the Oscars broadcast on April 10, 1967, and the show went on. Hope, once again as the presenter, broke into her monologue (which you can watch below): “Good evening, everyone. Welcome to the 39th annual Academy Awards. This is the big night, and what tension, what drama, what suspense, and that was just to decide whether or not the show would go on. Actually, we just got the news half an hour ago, and I hope the teleprompter knows that the strike is over. This could be the first commercially sponsored two-hour break. Anyway, we are happy that the strike is over. The incriminations, suspicions and anger are behind us. Now the real fight begins!”