Trophies symbolic for picketers



NEW YORK -- After three months of picketing, the WGA East on Tuesday brought out the heavy artillery.

With two dozen of its members and supporters on hand to brandish the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys and Golden Globes they have won throughout the years, the WGAE offered a message: Let's have the writers and studios agree to a fair deal, hopefully before the Oscars are scheduled to be handed out Feb. 24.

Several of the speakers at a news conference at the Players Club at Gramercy Park emphasized that the WGA will not be rushed into a deal just because the DGA has one in hand.

"The deal has to be the right deal, it has to be," said Tony Gilroy, who a few hours earlier had received Oscar noms for writing and directing "Michael Clayton." Gilroy also spoke of the human cost of the strike, which he said is affecting friendships and livelihoods.

Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning actress Celeste Holm also was there to show support for the cause. The 90-year-old actress, who won for 1947's "Gentleman's Agreement," didn't bring her Oscar, as it was out on loan. But many other statues, representing a veritable treasure trove of film and TV history, were there.

Actress Blythe Danner, an Emmy and Globe winner, linked the writers' case to SAG, whose agreement with the studios expires June 30.

"This is very important to us, and I don't think anybody will settle unless the writers settle," she said.

Several said they hoped a deal would come sooner rather than later. "I want to get back to work, and I know that everybody else in this room does too," said writer-producer Tom Fontana, a fixture on the picket lines.

Asked what would it mean in the unlikely event that the Oscar ceremony were canceled because of the writers strike, screenwriter Marshall Brickman quipped, "No Oscar ceremony can only improve things."