I’m told the informal writer-mogul meetings are going “in a positive direction” enough so that it’s beginning to look possible for the Academy Awards to proceed normally. Friday’s was an especially productive session, I’ve learned. “I feel optimistic. In my opinion, today was productive and collaborative and respectful. I thought it was a very good day,” an insider told me. The CEOs’ pointman Peter Chernin is leaving tonight to go out of town (“This is not his day job,” one source reminded…) but the talks will continue in his absence. I can tell you that since Tuesday the News Corp/Fox No. 2 has been telling insiders that the moguls have decided to let the WGA leadership (yes, even the guy they all hate — Dave Young, who was in today’s session) “declare a face-saving victory” in order to get a deal done. Yesterday Chernin, ensconced in the Fox commissary surrounded by some of his execs — including Tom Rothman, Peter Liguori, and Hutch Parker — was reassuring people, “Don’t worry. It’s done.” My info is that it’s far from done yet, but things are looking up to the point that one of my sources thinks this could get settled in time to hold a real Oscars. Sure, we’ve all been here before and seen talks break down after a few optimistic days. But now, according to my insiders, the moguls finally want a deal as much as the writers. Will the deal be good enough?
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