December 12, 2007

Maybe It Would Just Last An Hour

The writers' strike grinds on in Hollywood, with no end in sight for the work stoppage in the entertainment industry. As the days pass, some wonder whether the strike will affect the Oscars -- and if so, what the effect will be. What would an Academy Awards show do without writers?

No official cancellation announcements have been made, but with three prominent award shows just around the corner -- the Golden Globes airs in January, the Grammy's in early February and the Academy Awards just a few weeks later -- industry insiders have been speculating about how the shows will air without a team of writers in place to craft the monologues and introductions.

Former head writer for the Oscars Bruce Vilanch told Variety that an Academy Awards ceremony sans writers would certainly make for interesting -- if not dull -- television.

"There might be an Oscar show, but I fear that it will look more like your high school graduation than it ever has before," Vilanch told the trade publication.

But those close to the awards are carrying on business as usual, despite the dark cloud that continues to linger over Los Angeles.

Emily Friedman must have just moved to LA to have written that last statement. Emily, kid, that dark cloud doesn't come from the writer's strike. It's called smog, and it's been lingering for decades. You'll be fine as long as you don't breathe.

As for Vilanch, he obviously hasn't watched the Oscars since Johnny Carson stopped hosting them. Although I have watched the Oscars since I was a youngster, no one really thinks that the show is anything but dull television. From the sappy and predictable introductions to the unfunny "ad libs" of the sacrificial lamb, er, host,the Academy Awards honors its notables with a show that looks and sounds like a middle-school graduation. Vilanch's analysis promises an upgrade.

And maybe without all of the self-congratulatory speeches and introductions provided by the writers in this case, the show might take less time than a Super Bowl for the first time in long memory. It certainly is worth a try. Hopefully the writers and the studios can reach an accommodation on the issues, for which the writers have a good case. If they're expecting us to believe that their absence could make the Oscars worse, though, they're not going to find much sympathy there.


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