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Why Actors Should Boycott An Oscar Ceremony

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David Carr takes a good look at the rocky future of the Oscar ceremony today in The New York Times. The striking writers are in a real pickle. To actually picket the ceremony and deny televised honors to their actor and director friends could create some resentment amongst those who are sympathetic to the writers' cause.

Carr writes of the importance of the Oscar in Hollywood:

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The prize is so dear precisely because it is so rare. Year in, year out, there is only one best actor, one best actress and one best picture, with a voting process that does not respond to easy manipulation. In a business populated by ego-afflicted souls who pursue glory and endure failure in the public eye, most would crawl on bloody stumps across a field of broken glass to get their mitts on an Oscar. It is a way to write the first line of one's obituary and put a zero or two behind your fees, all in one short walk to the stage.

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Crawl on bloody stumps across broken glass? Kind of a harsh, but he's right, the Oscar still holds the bulk of the industry's prestige. And for that very reason, actors and directors should boycott a televised Oscar ceremony in support of the Writers' Guild.

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I enjoy watching the Oscars for many reasons. I support the celebration, televised or otherwise, of the filmmaking craft - actors, directors, editors, etc. And, I'll admit, I like to look at the clothes - though I miss the days of Cher, Diane Keaton, and Bjork. The fashion is all so staid now.

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But the fact is, the actors et al could still receive their awards and the acclaim that comes with them, while showing solidarity with their writer colleagues. Daniel Day-Lewis, who could probably give a hoot if he's on TV, can still win best actor and still have it announced in the trailer of every movie he's in for the next 20 years. By boycotting the televised ceremony, he jeopardizes none of that but still shows solidarity with the writers, who I might add, include his talented wife, Rebecca Miller.

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I have a hard time feeling sympathy for celebrities whose biggest sacrifice is not getting to accept their awards on television or wear a designer dress for an evening. There are so many awards ceremonies now, all very similar, and they often include the same guests, recipients and presenters.

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It's a small portion of the working actor who is celebrated at this level. It seems to me this celebrated few can take one for the team and forego this year's televised ceremony. Boycott it. Refuse to wear the dress, the diamonds or the tux. Save your speech - or publish it on the internet. Use the media currently under contention and YouTube your acceptance speech. Find creative ways to serve your needs and stay true to the cause of the writers. Make the great machinery of the Hollywood studios work harder to reach a reasonable compromise with the talent the makes it hum.

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