After all the haranguing and rhetoric, the ad campaigns and endless comment threads, stories surfaced that SAG has decided to forget the whole vote to authorize a strike thing altogether, citing they didn’t feel they could get the 75% majority they would need to move forward. *Eyebrow raised up into the hairline* WTF?
If the story proves to be true, one could argue they saw the light in the wake of California’s recent state of bankruptcy (in case you live under a rock, the state is handing out I.O.U.’s in lieu of tax refunds and most road work has been stopped, two buck chuck is no longer as a tax on wine is being implemented, the list goes on…) or perhaps they folded under other pressures.
Visiting the official SAG site at SAG.org, however, provided nothing to substantiate this claim. I read the story in various places including E Online, but now I am beginning to wonder if it was just a PR campaign by those who oppose the strike.
UPDATE: It is official: SAG loses support for strike vote.
Meanwhile, the nominees for the 2009 Oscars was announced. I’ll likely chime in on my podcast at KeramCast.com about my thoughts on the nominations. As I predicted in episode eleven, Man On Wire got a nom for best doc.
Here is the list for your consideration. Would love to hear your opinions on this year’s contenders.
(technical categories excluded):
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Gus Van Sant, Milk
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader
Recent stories from the Associated Press are relaying strong opposition from the very actors the guild represents to the proposed vote to strike as negotiations continue between the powerful American actors’ guild and the AMPTA that represents the producers.
The actors feel that the already bleak production landscape created by the ongoing struggle would be rendered disastrous for too many struggling performers should the strike be approved in these harsh economic times.
Some excerpts from the Associated Press articles:
More Than 130 A-List Actors Oppose Strike Vote
December 17, 2008 – LOS ANGELES — Delivering a rebuke to the leadership of the Screen Actors Guild, more than 130 actors signed a letter urging their colleagues to reject a strike-authorization vote in January.
“We don’t think that an authorization can be looked at as merely a bargaining tool,” said the letter, signed by “Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria Parker, “Spider-Man” star Tobey Maguire, and others. “It must be looked at as what it is _ an agreement to strike if negotiations fail.”
“We do not believe in all good conscience that now is the time to be putting people out of work,” it said.
Other signatories included Tom Hanks, Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Cameron Diaz, Heather Graham and Edward Norton.
The letter, sent to guild board members and staff, is the latest sign of unhappiness with the leadership of the 120,000-strong union.
On Friday, the New York representatives on the guild’s board demanded a halt to the strike vote and called for an emergency meeting to replace the negotiating committee.
Guild President Alan Rosenberg planned an emergency meeting for Friday in Los Angeles, but rescinded it after New York members complained about the short notice to travel. A new meeting has not been scheduled.
The guild wants terms that are better than the deals accepted by directors, writers, stagehands and another actors union earlier in the year.
[read the whole article here]
Film workers protest against strike at SAG meeting
From the Associated Press:
December 18, 2008 – LOS ANGELES – A dozen film industry workers protested outside a town hall meeting of the Screen Actors Guild on Wednesday night, pleading with actors not to authorize a strike that would bring the entertainment business to a halt.
The workers held up signs saying “Please No Strike Now – The Crew” in the rain outside the complex housing the Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards.
The group of protesters, location scouts, technicians and camera-equipment vendors, said work has dried up since the actors’ contract expired in June because studios have delayed making new movies for fear of a damaging walkout.
“Since the last contract expired in June, it’s basically killed the feature film business,” said Rob Frank, a 48-year-old location manager from Los Angeles. “People are losing their homes. I just think the timing is off for a strike.”
Since wrapping location shooting on Disney’s “Bedtime Stories” in August, Frank said he has been out of a job. “I’m usually going from movie to movie to movie with no break in between,” he said.
But some of the 400 actors attending Wednesday night’s meeting remained determined to press their case with the major Hollywood studios.
Actor Ed Asner, 79, said a strike was necessary to achieve the guild’s goals and that the length of a possible walkout depends on the Hollywood studios. “It all depends on how greedy they are for product.”
The strike vote must be approved by 75 percent of voting members to succeed. If it is approved, the SAG national board can call a strike. Votes will be counted on Jan. 23.
[read the whole article here]
[end articles] Found at NAB365
My own opinion is somewhere in the middle. After so much time bargaining with the AMPTA, it would be even more harmful not to come to an agreement now because I would mean the matter will have to be reopened eventually and so the industry would remain somewhat paralyzed. SAG has the momentum going now. The AMPTA must acknowledge that the need to establish the groundwork for compensating actors for work broadcast online is now, not some time in the future.
On the other hand, a strike would prove devastating for 90% of the over a hundred thousand actors represented, not to mention all the other industry workers that include everything from the art departments and camera crews to the technicians, writers, directors and so on who would not be able to land jobs until the matter was resolved anyway.
Do you think the screen Actors Guild should wait for the economy to improve, or should SAG strike now?
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