Oscar night update: red carpet included

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Strike or no strike, the 80th Annual Academy Awards -- and the red carpet -- will go on, telecast producer Gil Cates said Friday. But what remains to be seen is who will be on that red carpet and onstage at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 24, when the winners are announced.

Cates hinted that he might not need actors on stage for the show.

“There are enough clips in 80 years of Oscar history to make up a very entertaining show,” said Cates in an interview with The Times. “We’d have a lot of people on stage. Much as this is shocking to people, there are a lot of people who don’t act. I just hope that the actors are there. I pray that the actors are there. I’m planning that the actors are there.”

Cates also stressed that familiar phrase, “The envelope, please,” will be part of the broadcast.


“We can’t do the show without ‘The envelope, please,’ ” he said.

The Writers Guild of America has said that it will not grant the Academy Awards a waiver allowing union writers to script the show and freeing the Screen Actors Guild members to attend without fear of crossing a picket line. The threat of picket lines kept actors away from last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, forcing organizers to curtail the glitzy, celebrity-filled event and replace it with a televised news conference in which the winners were announced.

“I thought that under the circumstances they did a very good show,” Cates said of the Globes.

Cates said the Oscar show’s set is being designed and built. Film montages are being assembled. And after the nominations are announced Tuesday, he added, they will begin figuring out the musical numbers and choosing actors to be presenters.

‘I don’t want to say read my lips, but it’s not going to be canceled,’ Cates said of the show. ‘It’s a big moment for the town. The grand-daddy of all the shows and it awards excellence. . . . The strike could be settled by then. Who knows? Four weeks is a long way off.’

--Robert W. Welkos