Since May 16, 1929, when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences handed out its first Oscar awards, the ceremony has grown in popularity, glamour, and prestige.
This year is to be the Academy Awards 80th anniversary, but the status of the ceremony is in jeopardy as a result of the strike by the Writer Guild of America (WGA) against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Although this strike has been in effect since early November, its ability to cancel the Academy Awards adds new efficacy and fire to the feud.
There are multiple issues of contention behind the writers' strike. The most noteworthy issue involves DVD residuals and compensation for all content written for or distributed on the Internet, content known as "new media".
The strike, thus far, has cost the Alliance an estimated one billion dollars as well as the jobs of hundreds to thousands of support staff, and the abatement of many favorite television shows.
The strike threatens the Academy Awards on multiple fronts including the resistance of writers to create monologues for award presenters as well as the possibility that angry throngs will rally themselves around Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, where the ceremony has been held since 2002.
Though negotiations have been minimal between the WGA and the Alliance, the WGA hopes that the fate of the Academy Awards will push the Alliance toward favorable concession.
Many fear that without the strike's resolution, this year's Academy Awards could resemble the minimized Golden Globes, which the strike recently stripped of its pomp, hype, and A-list actors.
At the moment, plans are still going forward for the February 24 Academy Awards telecast, of which John Stewart will be the host. However, without the strike's resolution, there is the possibility that the ceremony may be postponed.
As January comes to a close, reconciliation talks with hope of resolution are set to convene this week between the WGA and the studios.
Many Bowdoin students said they are upset that the ceremony may be canceled.
"I was really looking forward to watching them this year since I actually saw many of the nominated movies. I am pretty disappointed that they might be cancelled," said senior Lindsey Bonner.
For those students who do not watch the event itself, many said that they are usually interested to see whether their favorite films walk away with awards, and they look forward to seeing the fashionably clad celebrities who decorate the magazines for weeks to come.
Although the awards ceremony is not in itself an event of particular interest, the power of the WGA and the disruption that its strike has caused affects those inside and outside the entertainment industry.
The writers' strike speaks not only to the power of the written word and the prevalence of today's scripted dialogues in speech, broadcast and film, but it is also a demonstration of the role activist movements continue to play in American culture.