Hollywood hopes of an end to the writers' strike have been raised after union representatives and studios reportedly reached a tentative agreement.

And according to Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, there is "no doubt" that the 2008 Oscars will go ahead.

Speaking at the annual Oscar nominees luncheon in Beverley Hills yesterday, he said: "Things are looking very, very good now."

According to the Reuters news agency and trade newspaper Variety, an end to the industrial action is closer than ever, after the Writers' Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) made progress in their negotiations regarding royalty payments.

Hollywood life has been chaotic since the strike began on November 5th, with movies and television programmes forced to shut down production as WGA members dropped pens following a dispute over royalties for the redistribution of their works on DVD, mobile phones and the internet.

The Golden Globe awards were cancelled last month after fears that actors would refuse to cross the writers' picket line but this weekend's negotiations could lead to an end to the strike and allow the Oscars to go ahead as planned.

George Clooney, nominated in the best actor category for his turn in Michael Clayton, said the apparent tentative agreement meant there was a "good shot" of the 80th Academy awards ceremony being held, which was "a great, great, great sign".

"I think there's a lot of strike fatigue and I think you end up losing some of your negotiating power the longer it goes on. So I would hope that all of us in the union get it to the table as quickly as possible," he added.

The Hollywood Reporter claims US networks are planning to resume production on their biggest TV shows after many were abruptly halted when the strike began on November 5th last year.

05/02/2008 13:10:37