A Hollywood at war as Oscars organisers accused of bullying stars not to present at other awards shows battle has broken out in Hollywood which threatens to overshadow the awards season, with the largest actors’ union in the United States accusing the organisers of the Oscars of intimidation and scare tactics.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), which hosts its own awards show next weekend, took the unusual step of issuing a statement attacking the organisers of the Oscars, and accusing them of “graceless pressure tactics”.
They claim the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organises the Oscars, are bullying actors into presenting awards only at their ceremony, and snubbing the SAG show.
SAG, which has 160,000 members, said it had received “multiple reports” of pressure from the Academy, as well as experiencing first-hand what it called “attempts to control the awards show talent pipeline.”
“The apparent attempt by the Academy to keep our members from presenting on their own awards show is utterly outrageous and unacceptable,” SAG said.
“Actors should be free to accept any offer to participate in industry celebrations,” it added, describing the Academy’s tactics as “self-serving intimidation.”
A similar skirmish, The Hollywood Reporter said, played out between the producers of the January 6 Golden Globe awards and the Academy.People close to the production of Globes were said to be “furious” that the Academy interfered with their recruitment of presenters, with Australian actress Margot Robbie among those said to have pulled out of the Globes in favour of the Oscars.
Agents were reportedly told that if their client presented at the Globes, they would not be asked to present at the Oscars.
“They’ve done it for years,” a source told the industry publication, adding that previously they were able to find mediators to “smooth things over” so that stars could appear on both telecasts.
The Academy is yet to respond to the remarkable broadside, which comes at a difficult time for producers.
The ceremony, scheduled for February 24, is still without a host, aftercomedian Kevin Hart pulled out when homophobic tweets from several years ago were unearthed.
A new category, best popular film, was scrapped a month after it was announced, amid an outcry over “dumbing down” the prestigious accolades.
And producers are deeply concerned about trying to regain relevancy, after ratings for the biggest night in the business hit an all-time low in 2018.
Nominations for the Oscars will be announced on January 22.