At the press conference at the film academy this morning, I was among the journos grilling Oscarcast host Gil Cates the hardest, trying to get him to fess up and tell us what his Secret Plan B was for a telecast if the writers strike continued.
I asked the first question and he merely danced around it, noting that there are 25 award categories. Only four are for actors, so presumably most of the others would be present so other categories could flow normally, he said. The show would've been fine. They just would've had to fill in the blanks with "the most exotic and interesting clip show in the history of television." Oh, yeah, Gil? I wouldn't have counted on the writers being there. Or directors. Or, once they all declared they were staying home, many others either.
But it was clear that Gil thought otherwise by the way he was brushing off our inquiries — that is, until we asked a tough follow-up question that caught him by surprise and made him flinch.
Who would he have lined up to present the awards?
"If I told you that I'd have to kill you," he replied cavalierly, then quickly took another question from the journo pack.
The answer is clearly the same as what happened to the Emmys during a strike back in 1980 when the actors boycotted the show: video editors, cinematographers and other below-the-line industryites took over the duty of doling out trophies. Personally, I think that'd be great to see at the Oscars, but few TV viewers were pleased back then. Clearly, Gil did not have another solution. Clearly, everything would not have been quite OK. Thus he was apparently bluffing all along. Give that man an Oscar!
Read the L.A. Times report on the press conference: CLICK HERE.