After 118 days and a tense final-hour showdown, the SAG-AFTRA strike was finally resolved in November, and actors have returned to TV and film sets with the proper remuneration. Yay! They can work again! They can promote again! They can accept awards again!
As an awards-show enthusiast — who lives to see one actor per category triumphing and four not — one of the weirdest results of all the striking has been on trophy season. The Emmys were originally planned for last September 18, but because of the Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA strikes, they were pushed ahead to this January 15, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The eligibility period for nominees was from June 1, 2022, through May 31, 2023, so, when these awards finally happen, they’ll probably become a matter of, “Hey, remember that show?” Or, “Remember that season of that show?”
Other ceremonies are scheduled for their usual time frame: the Golden Globes are on January 7. The SAG Awards will be February 24 (and I imagine it will be an extremely opinionated telecast). And the Oscars are set for March 10. This is a sardine-packed schedule, and by time the Oscars take place, they will be even more of an anticlimax than usual. This will be especially true after the wild flurry of desperate campaigning from actors and studios alike, though that explosion of grasping ostentation will comfort me to no end. I long for a return to business as usual, no matter how tacky.
The awards shows will be just that: back to basics, with all the glitzy trimmings that we live for. Some of the Emmy speeches will no doubt reference how actors stayed home and Zoomed during Covid lockdown, only to come out of it, then strike and stay home again — and some will surely acknowledge SAG-AFTRA’s fearless president, Fran Drescher — but, for the most part, everyone will be so thrilled to be working and competing again that it’ll seem like nothing ever changed.
No matter what, I’ll be glued to all the above competitions and their pre-shows. If anything, the red carpet will be a cavalcade of looks shelved from all the canceled or postponed film premieres and festivals. And while actors had to stay mum during the strike, leaving journos like me to (perhaps refreshingly) interview directors and screenwriters for a change, the floodgates will now be open and the thesps can use their red-carpet time to spout at length about who they’re wearing and what they’re doing. On the bright side, unlike the last Tonys, the upcoming telecasts can use writers. But I can only hope those scribes don’t come up with their usual cringe-inducing shtick — the “comedy” bits that make you want to scream, “Just name the nominees!”
I also hope someone adds a category for “Worst Strike Breaker.” This could be Drew Barrymore’s first Emmy.