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Entertainment Weekly


SAG Awards organizers accuse Academy of 'intimidation' in trying to secure exclusive Oscar presenters

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images; Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic

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The organizers of the Screen Actors Guild Awards have accused the Oscars’ organizers of pressuring talent to only present at the Academy Awards on Feb. 24, saying it was a “self-serving intimidation” of actors.

“SAG-AFTRA has fielded numerous requests to respond to assertions that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences exerts extraordinary and unwarranted pressure on talent to hold them from appearing at other award presentations. We have received multiple reports of these activities and have experienced firsthand the Academy’s graceless pressure tactics and attempts to control the awards show talent pipeline. Awards season is a very special time when actors and actresses are being appropriately celebrated and recognized for the outstanding quality of their work. We would expect the Academy to honor these goals,” SAG said in a statement on Monday.

“This self-serving intimidation of SAG-AFTRA members is meant to limit their opportunities to be seen and honor the work of their fellow artists throughout the season. Actors should be free to accept any offer to participate in industry celebrations. The apparent attempt by the Academy to keep our members from presenting on their own awards show is utterly outrageous and unacceptable. The SAG Awards supports their union’s operations and important charitable assistance programs that provide valuable support to performers. We call on the Academy to cease this inappropriate action.”

Representatives for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not immediately return EW’s requests for comment. Hosted by Megan Mullally, the SAG Awards will be held on Jan. 27.

The statement from SAG comes after Hollywood trade publications said organizers of the Oscars were asking talent, such as the cast of the Avengers, to not appear together onstage at other awards shows so that their appearance together at the Oscars would be more of an exclusive draw. This comes amid the Oscars struggling to find a host for its show this year, after Kevin Hart stepped down from the gig following the resurfacing of old homophobic tweets, for which he has now apologized. Hart said last week that he is definitely not going to host the show this year, especially this late in the preparation stage.

The Academy has not yet revealed whether it will have a host for the Oscars, or more likely given the late stage, that it would forgo one host and instead harness a cadre of Hollywood names to present and perform throughout the three hour ceremony that will air live on ABC.