2 Academy Awards shows in the works in case strike remains unresolved

By Sandy Cohen

LOS ANGELES – An Oscars contingency plan that would include history, film clips and out-of-the-ordinary concepts for the awards show is in the works, academy president Sid Ganis told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

With the writers strike dragging dangerously close to the Feb. 24 telecast, the film academy is planning two Oscar shows: “The show we would love to do and … a show that we would prefer not to do,” Ganis said.

The traditional, star-studded glamour-fest is in the works in case an agreement is reached. If not, organizers are working on a second show that will include “history and packages of film and concepts that are not normally ones that we would have for the show if we were moving straight ahead.”

The show will go on regardless of talks status, he said.

“We have an obligation to the art form to present the Oscars, so we have to deal with the possibility of not being able to do the show because of pickets or agreements not being concluded,” Ganis said.

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Meanwhile, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is talking with striking writers, said spokeswoman Leslie Unger. She declined to provide details.

“We have made contact with the guild,” Unger said. “We want to be able to do the kind of Oscar show that we always do, and we want to create the circumstances that will allow us to do that.”

Nominations for the 80th Academy Awards were announced last week. In past years, presenters were announced one-by-one before or shortly after the nominations, but none have been named so far this year.

Final ballots were mailed Wednesday to the 5,829 voting members of the academy. They are due back Feb. 19.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.