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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 March, 2003, 18:17 GMT
Oscars cut back on glitz
A giant Oscar statuette is moved into place by workers
The stars will not be stopping to chat on the red carpet
Next week's Oscars ceremony will be scaled down to reflect the world mood as war with Iraq looms, organisers have said.

They say they will cut back on the glitz and glamour of the traditional pre-show red carpet parade in which the stars greet fans and the media.

Instead the Academy says it aims to produce a more sober version for the 75th awards ceremony at Hollywood's Kodak Theater on Sunday.

On Wednesday seating outside the venue known as "the bleachers" - traditionally occupied by hundreds of film fans - was dismantled.

Many movie enthusiasts have attended the red carpet festivities for the past 10 years.

It is not yet known whether they will be re-accommodated elsewhere by show organisers.

Meanwhile Vanity Fair, which hosts one of the biggest post-Oscar parties, announced it had cancelled its own red carpet and media access.

Gil Cates, who is producing the show, said organisers were working "diligently" to make sure the ceremony went out on TV as usual.

It would seem obscene if we were trouncing up and down a red carpet, grinning and waving, and there's people dying somewhere in the world
Daniel Day-Lewis

But he said the Academy recognised that many actors would feel "uncomfortable" facing journalists at the time of an outbreak of war.

As a result, stars would not stop for interviews or photographs.

"The traditional splashy red carpet arrivals line will be truncated," said Mr Cates.

He added: "Keeping in mind the world situation, the academy has elected to prepare a more sober pre-show and a scaled-back arrivals sequence."

Oscar interviews will be replaced in the TV coverage by historic film clips concentrating on past Oscar glories, rather than the glamour of the occasion.

Nicole Kidman
Kidman says the war presents a dilemma to Oscar guests

BBC arts correspondent Rosie Millard said: "The Oscars is going to be without much of the glitz and glamour with which it has been traditionally associated.

"People in the arts community are beginning to feel rather uneasy about the traditional showbusiness of the Oscars, feeling it is inappropriate."

Best actor nominee Daniel Day-Lewis said guests had to consider how to act respectfully at a time of war.

Day-Lewis - shortlisted for his role in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York - said: "It would seem obscene if we were trouncing up and down a red carpet, grinning and waving, and there's people dying somewhere in the world."

Nicole Kidman, nominated for best actress for The Hours, said she was in two minds about attending in the event of war.

She said: "There are two arguments... where they say you need to continue on with things and not be stopped; and then there's the other thing where you just say, of course, it would feel very strange to show up."

Mr Cates said that ABC, the US TV network screening the ceremony, might switch its coverage to follow developments in the war.

"Any such decisions in regard to broadcasting the show will be made later in the week, and will be made jointly by the Academy and ABC," he said.

  • Finnish film-maker Aki Kaurismaeki, nominated for an Oscar in the foreign language film category, has pulled out of the ceremony, citing the Iraq crisis as the reason.

    He explained his reasons in a letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    "Neither I or anybody else from [production company] Sputnik can participate in the Oscar gala at the same time as the US government is preparing a crime against humanity due to economic interests," he said.

    "Due to this we are not in a party mood."


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