General News

Barbara Walters Halts Oscar Special, Will Smith Says No to Oscars

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Mar 20, 2003 | 7:51am EST

As the U.S. officially declared war on Iraq Wednesday night, the showbiz industry continued to scale back the Academy Awards festivities scheduled for Sunday.

Barbara Walters, whose interviews with Oscar nominees Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore and Renee Zellweger were set to air Sunday during an annual ABC special tied to the Oscar telecast, said in a joint statement with ABC, "With such serious issues facing the nation, it is the right decision to postpone the special." No new airdate is set, Variety reports.

The advent of war has also left some celebrities waffling on whether they will attend the Oscars at all, according to Variety. In the first of what may be many similar decisions, actor Will Smith will not be attending the awards ceremony.

"He felt uncomfortable in attending and respectfully asked to be excused," Smith's publicist Stan Rosenfield told Variety. "There's no agenda, there's no speeches. He just felt uncomfortable in attending."

In addition, many designers, whose fashions will be barely seen with the lack of red carpet and after-party glitz, have cancelled their plans to attend, including Giorgio Armani and Donatella Versace, Variety reports.

At least one event, however, will be unaltered this weekend--the Independent Spirit Awards, which take place Saturday and will have an arrival area.

Executive director Dawn Hudson told Variety, "It is our feeling that our ceremonies, and the arrivals that precede it, have always had a different tone than other events. The Spirit Awards have always been a place where artists come together and speak their minds. It is our hope that Saturday's ceremonies will provide both this type of forum as well as focus on independent film."

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