Strike Upside: Awards Season Threatened

Another repercussion of the Hollywood writer’s strike: January and February is awards season in Hollywood, but the writing talent that makes giltz-fests semi-watchable may be picketing outside.

The Writers Guild of America granted a “script waiver” for the Jan. 27 Screen Actors Guild Awards, allowing WGA-repped writers to write for the show, which honours their unionized brethren. The Hollywood Foreign Press, which puts on the Golden Globes (Jan. 13 this year on NBC), asked the WGA for its own waiver, but Variety says “few expect it to be granted.”

Short of the Super Bowl, the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards are two of the most highly-watched telecasts of the year. The networks have too much invested in those shows to cancel them, but if the shows go on, they will be in the embarrassing position to have the union’s grievances aired on national TV. As Variety noted, its hard to imagine a vocal union supporter like George Clooney crossing a picket line to pick up an Oscar.

The WGA will, no doubt, be under a lot of pressure from the actors and producers to allow these shows to go on, but these are prime opportunities to put the hurt on the networks/studios, sitting across from them at the negotiating table. Will the WGA grant more script waivers to allow Hollywood to honour itself? “For the time being, it’s too preliminary to forecast,” a WGA West spokesman said Tuesday.

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