Oscars could go ahead as directors sign deal

The Oscars could still go ahead in February after Hollywood directors negotiated a deal with the major studios.

This latest development could put pressure on striking writers to follow suit and resolve their dispute.

The two-month strike has crippled the entertainment industry, reducing the Golden Globes to a televised press conference.

Gil Cates, chairman of Directors Guild of America’s negotiations committee, called the three-year agreement between directors and studio body the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers “groundbreaking and substantial”.

The deal outlines key provisions involving compensation for programmes on the internet – the central issue of the writers’ strike.

Actor George Clooney was among those who welcomed the move. “I’m very pleased with the new agreement and I hope it helps speed up the negotiations (with the Writers Guild of America),” he said.

Following the deal, top executives from major companies including Fox, Paramount Pictures Corp and Warner Bros urged those writers involved in strike action to begin informal talks.

In a statement, they said they hoped the agreement would signal the end of an “extremely difficult period”. They said the deal set a precedent for the industry’s creative talent to “participate financially in every emerging area of new media”.

The Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) said it would evaluate the terms of the directors’ proposed contract and added it’s been calling on studios to resume negotiations.

WGA West president Patric Verrone said: “We’ve been making independent deals, so we’re in a negotiating mood.”

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