Golden Globes? Yes. Stars? Maybe

strike globes writers

Writer Steven Katz passes out flyers in front of NBC studios January 7, 2008 in New York City.
Spencer Platt / Getty
No need to dry-clean your tuxes, George and Denzel. Thanks to the Hollywood writers’ strike, Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards has shrunk from the usual celebrity bacchanal of red carpet, dinner, ceremony and after-parties to a one-hour news conference broadcast on NBC. The highly-rated Globes is the first awards show to fall victim to the strike, and February’s Academy Awards may be next.

On Monday, NBC, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), Globes producer Dick Clark Productions and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) feverishly tried to cut a deal that would have allowed the Globes to go forward without forcing actors to cross picket lines to make their acceptance speeches. But talks broke down over NBC’s plan to supplement the press conference with a clips reel, a special episode of Dateline using already taped actors’ interviews and an Access Hollywood-style broadcast from the after-parties with casual acceptance speeches from the revelers.

“We don’t have any objection to people having a good time,” says Jeff Hermanson, assistant executive director of the WGA West. “We do have an objection to NBC forcing Dick Clark Productions to put together an award show and call it something else.”

By Monday evening, the HFPA was announcing its plans for a scaled-down Globes, and various studios were canceling their parties. “We are all very disappointed that our traditional awards ceremony will not take place this year and that millions of viewers worldwide will be deprived of seeing many of their favorite stars celebrating 2007’s outstanding achievements in motion pictures and television,” said Jorge Camara, President of the HFPA, in a statement. “We take some comfort, however, in knowing that this year’s Golden Globe Award recipients will be announced on the date originally scheduled.”

Hermanson said that writers won’t picket the shrunken Globes if the press conference goes off without a red carpet, presentations or acceptance speeches. However the Guild is in the process of procuring a permit to picket the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the Globes take place, and advising its members to be ready to walk.

If the writers picket, “we’re stayin’ home,” says one publicist of a nominated actor, a view echoed by most others. Early in the day some publicists were optimistic that a deal could be worked out that would allow their clients to attend. Kelly Bush, CEO of ID Public Relations, a firm that represents a long list of nominees including Ellen Page, Casey Affleck, Tim Burton, America Ferrera, Mary-Louise Parker and Kyra Sedgwick, said, “I will certainly encourage our nominees to attend and hope other? publicists do the same.” The announcement of the press conference format changed Bush’s plans.

Even if the writers don’t picket, the press conference format raises all sorts of questions for the nominees, say their publicists. Do you attend a press conference for an award you may lose? What do you wear to a press conference? Isn’t it tacky to borrow tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewels when people have lost their jobs? Part of the fun of the Golden Globes in the past has been the spontaneity of an event put on by journalists rather than producers, but this Golden Globes may be just too unscripted for actors to handle. “This event will be a nonevent,” says Hermanson. “You can’t have a celebration of talent without talent.”

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