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Will Stewart Grace The Oscars, WGA Strike Or Not?

If the Writers Guild of America strike isn’t settled in time for the Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 24, will Jon Stewart still show up to host the event?

The question surfaced Thursday because Stewart tonight, Feb. 7, had been slated to host an event honoring Viacom and CBS chairman Sumner Redstone in New York City. But Stewart cancelled, and now the gala, sponsored by the Paley Center for the Media, is set to be emceed by Charlie Rose.

There’s been speculation that Comedy Central’s Stewart stepped down to spite his masters at media conglomerate Viacom, which is one of the entities the writers are striking against. But another source said Stewart, who is doing The Daily Show with Jon Stewart without his own striking writers, was likely just too busy and overloaded to handle the Redstone gig.

But it’s unclear, so far, if Stewart would cross a picket line to host the Oscars if the strike is still dragging on 17 days from now.

Neither Stewart spokesman Matt Labov, or the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences could be reached for comment Thursday. 

The WGA has threatened to picket the Academy Awards show, and the Screen Actors Guild has said its members won’t cross a picket line to attend the event.

As a WGA member, without a waiver Stewart can’t write any material for the Oscars, nor can any other writers. He could, however, appear and just host the ceremony -- such as it would be -- and wing his remarks.

Due to the strike, the Golden Globes ceremony was reduced to being just a press conference, sans any star power. It’s unknown if the Academy would go that same route if the strike is still on Feb. 24.    

The Academy has steadfastly maintained that the Oscars will go on in some form -- whether the strike is over or not, with or without a waiver from the WGA.