Oscar nominees say they won't attend a picketed Oscar show

LOS ANGELES " Hal Holbrook, a first-time Oscar nominee at 82, said he would skip the Academy Awards rather than cross picket lines. But it would sting.

"You feel you lost something. An opportunity. You lost something, mostly if by some miracle in this extremely competitive category of supporting actor, if by some miracle I was chosen," said Holbrook, nominated for "Into the Wild."

"I think what you'd want to do is thank people," he continued, including his wife, his college drama teacher, "Wild" director Sean Penn and star Emile Hirsch.

Holbrook isn't the only actor who promised to stay home Oscar night if there are pickets outside the Kodak Theatre.

Members of the Screen Actors Guild have stood in solidarity with striking writers since their walkout began Nov. 5. But directors, documentarians, writers and other craftspeople " from first-time nominees to Oscar alums " also said Tuesday that they won't attend a picketed ceremony.

"I'd be really disappointed if I couldn't go to the big hullabaloo, but at same time I'm completely behind the writers strike and I would definitely not cross a picket line in any industry," said "Atonement" cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, a first-time nominee. "Personally speaking, what I would miss is the chance to meet all my photographic heroes and my fellow nominees in cinematography and just to experience something that I think is one of the greatest shows in the world. ... But at same time, filmmaking is an industry, and at the moment there are labor issues in flux that need to be resolved."

If the strike hasn't been settled by the Feb. 24 ceremony, Oscar night's typical sparkle will be seriously dimmed, said Scott Rudin, a producer of best-picture nominees "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood."

"It's very hard to be feeling particularly celebratory while a lot of my friends are unable to work, so I'm hopeful that it gets settled soon," he said. "As important and exciting as the awards are, they are not as important as that."

The nearly three-month strike made Viggo Mortensen's first Oscar nomination bittersweet.

"It's kind of odd to finally win the lottery and there's nobody at the ticket booth," he said. "I'm sure my mom would like to see me on TV and so forth. But if there's a strike, I'm not crossing the line."

He added that media conglomerates should "have the decency to stop blaming the union and sit down at the table and make a fair deal and they can have a ceremony and they can starting making movies and TV shows again."

The Golden Globes turned their normally swanky show into a news conference after actors refused to attend. But that wouldn't work for the Oscars, said Nancy Oliver, who was nominated Tuesday for her "Lars and the Real Girl" original screenplay.

"(It) was not particularly satisfying to people," she said.

It was certainly odd for winners, said Javier Bardem, a supporting actor nominee for "No Country for Old Men."

"I won the Golden Globe and it feels strange to be on the sofa watching the TV while they're saying your name," he said.

Some nominees were convinced the strike would be resolved in time for the big show, adding that the event might inspire the two sides to reach a settlement.

"My instinct is that it's going to be settled before the Oscars," said Ronald Harwood, an Oscar winner for "The Pianist" and a nominee for his adapted screenplay of "Atonement." "I think with the directors' settlement and the impending Oscars ceremony " I think the pressure will be irresistible. But I'm an optimist."

For now, though, the strike "hangs over it like a shadow," Harwood said, adding that he wouldn't cross a picket line to go to the show.

Associated Press writers John Rogers and Solvej Schou contributed to this report.


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