Oscar 2007: Major Nominees on the Writers Strike and Oscar Show

February 4, 2008–At Monday's Annual Academy Award luncheon, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Tony Gilroy, Brad Bird, George Clooney and Michael Moore, each an Oscar nominee and a WGA member, said they would not attend the Oscars (on February 24) if an equitable agreement is not reached by then.


Clooney urged the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) to start negotiating its contract in earnest to get the town back to work for good. “There's a popular belief by some in the union that your negotiating power increases the longer you wait,” Clooney said. “I think there's a lot of strike fatigue, and you actually start losing negotiating power.”

Clooney, who has been traveling as an ambassador for the U.N., pointed out that as a member of six unions, he has never crossed a picket line and never will. He called the latest breakthrough over the weekend in the WGA negotiations “a great sign,” adding, “It looks very good. “I would hope we in the Screen Actors Guild get back to the table.”


Tony Gilroy, nominated for the “Michael Clayton” script and direction, was optimistic about an end to the writers strike, noting he's been a member of WGA for 20 years. “I really hope that there's a settlement, and I really hope it's a good deal the leadership of the Writers Guild can sign off on,” Gilroy said. “It's my absolute hope I can dress up and go to the show.”

Michael Moore

Moore, nominated for “Sicko,” noted that the guild is striking over pennies, and vowed that he would start a penny drive to send to heads of studios if they can't come to a deal with the writers. “It's so odd that they shut the town down over a couple pennies,” he said.

Viggo Mortensen, nominated in the actor category for “Eastern Promises,” stressed the need for the right agreement, vs. a quick agreement, on new media. He said corporate leaders are going to have address the issue sooner or later, “and they ought to do it now instead of spending money on a PR firm.”

Bird, nominated for original screenplay and for animated film for “Ratatouille,” allowed that technically, he could attend the ceremony because the WGA doesn't cover animation writing. But he said he would not go if the strike's still on. “I just hope that it gets resolved and won't be an issue. But certainly if the strike is still on I would not cross the line,” Bird said. “Really, I think it's in the studios' best interest to have an environment where writers can stay in the game.”

Moore also injected political comments, talking about the role of health care in the presidential campaign. Noting that the tide has turned against Iraq since his 2003 Oscar win for “Bowling for Columbine,” he reminded that three anti-war docus are nominated this year. “The thing I was being booed off stage for is now being honored,” he said. “Hope it all goes well, and I hope I behave myself.”