The gloves are off between SAG-AFTRA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
On Monday, the actors union released a strongly worded statement accusing the Academy of putting “unwarranted pressure” on stars to prevent them from appearing as presenters on the SAG Awards if they sign up to take part in the Oscars.
“SAG-AFTRA has fielded numerous requests to respond to assertions that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences exerts extraordinary and unwarranted pressure on talent to hold them from appearing at other award presentations,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement posted on its website.
“We have received multiple reports of these activities and have experienced firsthand the Academy’s graceless pressure tactics and attempts to control the awards show talent pipeline. Awards season is a very special time when actors and actresses are being appropriately celebrated and recognized for the outstanding quality of their work. We would expect the Academy to honor these goals,” the statement continued.
The union said actors should be able to accept any offer they want to appear on awards shows.
“This self-serving intimidation of SAG-AFTRA members is meant to limit their opportunities to be seen and honor the work of their fellow artists throughout the season. Actors should be free to accept any offer to participate in industry celebrations,” the statement said.
With the Oscars apparently deciding to go without a host after Kevin Hart stepped down, the Academy is trying to book A-list talent to appear as presenters on the Feb. 24 telecast from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The SAG Awards will be held a month earlier, on Jan. 27, across town at the Shrine Auditorium.
The actors union called on the Academy to stop what it described as “inappropriate action.”
“The apparent attempt by the Academy to keep our members from presenting on their own awards show is utterly outrageous and unacceptable. The SAG Awards supports their union’s operations and important charitable assistance programs that provide valuable support to performers,” the union said. “We call on the Academy to cease this inappropriate action.”
The Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.