It’s hard to imagine any actor in Hollywood who makes the studio and network CEOs swoon more than Tom Hanks. So the fact that he has gone public and shamed them for breaking off bargaining talks with the Writers Guild is hitting them where it hurts: their public image. The two-time Oscar winner just gave an interview to Reuters in London saying that as a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences he wants to see the Oscar ceremony held as usual but warned the studios and networks will lose the Academy Awards ceremony just like they did the Golden Globes show unless AMPTP returns to the table and gets serious about negotiating.
Certainly anyone in sympathy with the striking writers has been waiting for a big Triple-A list star to step up and take a leadership position calling out the Hollywood CEOs for their intransigence. And if that’s the stick, then the carrot is the Academy Awards slated for February 24. “The show must go on, that is one of the tenets of everything,” Hanks told Reuters on the red carpet at the London premiere of Charlie Wilson’s War. “I am a member of the board of governors of the Academy, and we definitely want to put on a great show and honor the films that have come out in the course of the year.” Hanks said. “I just hope that the big guys who make big decisions, up high in their corporate boardrooms and what not, get down to honest bargaining and everyone can get back to work.”
This is not what the Big Media bigwigs want to hear — a popular star like Hanks whom they respect calling them out. So if Hanks is now at the head of the line, then Will Smith, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, Julia Roberts and other AAA-listers need to follow his lead. As I wrote way back on November 7th and have said repeatedly since, the only time I’ve ever heard of Hollywood CEOs caving on a major negotiation is when they get in the same room with a Tom Hanks. There’s just something so needy within the Hollywood moguls’ psyche that they want to be liked and respected by the creatives they in turn like and respect. (I assume this is why these businessmen make TV and movies instead of toothpaste and mattresses.) Therefore, any professional, personal and even psychological pressure put by these top-of-the-heap artists on the studio and network bosses could make all the difference. Some of that is going on, but not enough.