Oscar 2007: Ganis, Academy Prexy, Urges Nominees to Attend Threatened Oscar Show

February 5, 2008–At the annual nominees luncheon at the Beverly Hilton hotel Monday (Feb 4), talking to the nominated actors and filmmakers, Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), stressed the importance of keeping Oscar night on track, even if striking writers picket the ceremony.

While noting hopeful signs in talks between writers and production companies, Ganis said, Regardless of those circumstances, which are beyond our control, we will be presenting the awards as scheduled.

A film producer and former studio chief, Ganis stopped short of telling the nominees that they really ought to show up for the ceremony, scheduled to be broadcast by ABC on Feb. 24.
But, he reminded the gathered film stars, who included George Clooney, Ellen Page and Viggo Mortensen, the Academy Awards are not just about business but also about recognizing achievement.

“It would be such a terrible shame if, through no fault of yours and no fault of ours, the current conditions prevented us from shining that brightest possible light on the very people who gathered at the luncheon to celebrate what he called their nominee-ness. To prove his point, Ganis displayed an official certificate of nomination that read, Must be present to win.

During the lunch, Ganis spoke in front of several hundred people, including actors like Hal Holbrook and Casey Affleck; directors like Tony Gilroy and Michael Moore; producers like Scott Rudin; and executives like Robert A. Iger, who is the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company.

The mood was lighter than it might have been just last week, given reports that writers and studios have come closer to an agreement that could end a 90 day plus strike by the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild of America East before Oscar night.

The threat of pickets wrecked the Golden Globes ceremony January 13. The usual red carpet fashion and scenes of celebrities were replaced by a modest news conference after actors said they would boycot the show.