IN light of the WGA strike, and the possibility -- however slight -- that without writers the award shows might not go on, industry insiders are scrambling to work around the dilemma. But the answer is as obvious as a television network broadcast: Turn to reality programming. The award shows should take a page from those, uh, unscripted scripts and turn the Oscars into a reality show-based extravaganza. This would completely eliminate the need for a writing staff -- at least one that gets credit or benefits. So, Gil Cates take note, here are some award suggestions:
Achievement in directing: "Top Chefs." Can't you see the Coen brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson in a cook-off? There will be blood sausage.
Achievement in art direction: "Extreme Makeover: Vancouver as Any City, USA, Edition"
Achievement in makeup: "While You Were Out Getting Botox"
Achievement in visual effects: "Fear Factory" or maybe "The Fog Whisperer
Best cinematography: "Last Camera Standing." Make the nominees film audience reaction shots during the show. None of the usual smiles and laughs; show us pathos, anger, boredom, menace -- and not all from Jack in the front row.
Performance by an actor or actress in a leading role: "Big Screen American Idols." Really, who knew Johnny Depp could sing so well? And even if she can't really belt it out like Piaf, Marion Cotillard has the moves down pat.