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Surely Hollywood cannot take much more of this. Since the writers' strike began last November, the film and television studios have been able to weather the storm. But how long can that resistance hold now that the industrial action of the Writers' Guild of America has begun to disrupt the sacred Tinsel Town award ceremonies?

The Golden Globes were replaced at the weekend by a perfunctory press conference in the Beverly Hilton Hotel, after the Screen Actors Guild said its members would not cross writers' picket lines. There is no point in holding a party to which your guests refuse to come. Now the Oscars could fall victim to this same unlikely outburst of trade union militancy unless a compromise can be reached between studios and writers by the end of February. Few of those on the ground believe that is likely to happen.

The industry can put up with a lot: delayed television series, suspended late-night talk shows, even sidelined popcorn blockbusters. But when the strike starts affecting the annual back-slapping and back-biting festivals of the award ceremonies, that is when things get really serious. Because what is Hollywood without the glittering jewellery, the couture dresses, the gushing speeches, the red carpets, the after-awards parties? What is Hollywood without the opulent goodie-bags?

This strike is in serious danger of taking the show out of show-business. In fact, it already has the makings of a fine disaster film. Now, if only they could find a writer ...

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