SAG sets vote timetable !

The strike authorization ballots will go out to SAG's 120,000 members on January 2nd, and the votes will be tabulated on January 23rd and the results announced the same day. (UPDATED: See just released SAG statement below.) I'm told the decision was made to avoid the holidays and to ensure enough time for informational meetings. Only if 75% of the returned ballots are "yes" votes will SAG leadership be given a strike authorization -- not a strike but an authorization to call a strike without having to go back to members for another vote -- to help leverage the stalled contract negotiations with Big Media's AMPTP. It's less clear what will happen if the "no" votes exceed 25%  -- though it could mean no more negotiations and the AMPTP's last offer sent out to members to accept or reject. And if it's rejected, well, SAG and Big Media are back at Square One. Here's SAG's statement:
LOS ANGELES, DECEMBER 10, 2008 -- Screen Actors Guild today announced that strike authorization ballots will be mailed to paid-up SAG members on Friday January 2, 2009, and will be tabulated on Friday, January 23. A yes vote by 75% of members voting is required to pass the measure, which would authorize SAG's national board of directors to call a strike, if and when the board determines it is necessary.
Screen Actors Guild National President Alan Rosenberg said, ”SAG members understand that their futures as professional actors are at stake and I believe that SAG members will evaluate the AMPTP’s June 30 offer, and vote to send us back to the table with the threat of a strike. A yes vote sends a strong message that we are serious about fending off rollbacks and getting what is fair for actors in new media. I am encouraged by the response of the capacity crowd at our Los Angeles town hall meeting Monday night."
”We want SAG members to have time to focus on this critical referendum, so we have decided to mail ballots the day after New Year's. We will continue our comprehensive education campaign and urge our members to vote yes on the strike authorization. I am confident that members around the country will empower our negotiating team with the leverage and strength of unified Screen Actors Guild members. Our objective remains to get a deal that SAG members will ratify- not to go on strike," said SAG National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, Doug Allen.
Ballots will be tabulated at Integrity Voting Systems in Everett, Washington. Passage requires 75% yes vote from those voting. Source : http://tinyurl.com/6b2ncp
Golden Globes herald start of Oscar Race

Brad Pitt and Batman are expected to be among the front-runners here Thursday as the race for Oscars glory swings into top gear with the announcement of nominees for the 66th Golden Globes. Hollywood heart-throb Pitt is vying for honors for his performance in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 short story about a man who ages in reverse.
Director David Fincher's movie, which sees Pitt star opposite Australian icon Cate Blanchett, does not open in the United States until December 25 but has already wowed critics and audiences at sneak previews.
"I think the presumption among pundits right now is that 'Benjamin Button' is the front-runner," Tom O'Neil, an awards-season expert with the Los Angeles Times' theenvelope.com, told AFP.
Long-regarded as an indicator of films likely to challenge for top honors at the Oscars, which take place on February 22 next year, the Globes have thrown up a series of red herrings in recent years.
The last movie to achieve the Golden Globes best drama and Oscars best picture double was 2003's fantasy epic "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."Full : http://tinyurl.com/6mmohk
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