Striking Writers Weigh In On Oscars, Grammys

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Striking writers had a lot on their minds Tuesday. Oscar nominations, the deal quickly cut between the Directors Guild and the studios, and what to do about the Grammys. KPCC's Brian Watt visited the picket line.

Brian Watt: The writers aren't picketing all the studio lots as they were in the early days of the strike. Most of the Sony picketers are focusing on the Fox lot. Then, there are days on which Writers Guild strategists choose one studio where everyone meets.

At Paramount, more than a thousand writers had signed in by noon. Strike captain Patti Carr chatted with other writers about the tentative agreement the studios reached with the Directors Guild last week.

Patti Carr: ... and some of it is going to be valuable, I mean there is certainly a lot of value to what's...
Writer David Misch: At least they accepted some of our basic premises.
Carr: They accepted – you know, there's ground broken there, and there are openings for discussion.

Watt: Most writers reserved full judgment on the directors' deal until they could get more details. Mark Alton Brown is a writer-producer on The CW's "Girlfriends."

Alton Brown: Overall, people are hopeful that the DGA contract is a good starting point for us, but I don't think there's anywhere near a consensus to cave and say, "This is the deal we should take."

Watt: A billboard at Paramount proudly advertised the film "There Will Be Blood." The Paramount Vantage and Miramax co-production landed eight Oscar nominations. The awards ceremony is scheduled for just over a month from now at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre.

But whether it'll proceed, with or without union writers and actors, depends on whether the Writers Guild can seal a deal with the studios. Again, Mark Alton Brown.

Alton Brown: We all love the Oscars. Everyone wants to see the Oscars. We want our writers to work on the Oscars. Certainly we want our writers to be honored at the Oscars. But if we have to shut it down, we will.

Watt: The union has decided not to picket the music industry Grammy Awards, scheduled for February 10, at the Staples Center. But it also hasn't granted a waiver that would allow its members to write for the Grammys.

By the end of the day, the Writers Guild and the producers jointly announced a small but important step: informal talks to determine whether there's a basis for returning to formal talks.