Agent cites strike as cause for cancellation

Ed Limato has pulled out of the pre-Oscar party circuit this year.

The agent, who has for nearly 20 years hosted a star-studded party on the Friday night before the Academy Awards, decided to take a pass this time around.

“After what has happened with this strike, with so much up in the air about the Oscars, and with so many people out of work, I just don’t feel like celebrating,” Limato told Daily Variety.

Limato said his decision wasn’t connected to his move last year from ICM to William Morris. A WMA spokesman said the agency might make its own party plan, a decision that will be based on a number of factors, including the volume of WMA clients who received Oscar noms today.

No decisions have been made yet on the other two major agency-sponsored Friday night parties. CAA hosts one at the home of agency partner Bryan Lourd, and Endeavor hosts its party at the home of partner Ari Emanuel. Sources said that both agencies are proceeding with planning, even for scaled-down versions of parties that normally carry six-figure pricetags for tents, catering, valet parking, even putting Plexiglas flooring over swimming pools to handle all the revelers.

Also still on the boards is the bash held annually by Endeavor partner Patrick Whitesell and the Firm’s Rick Yorn, a post-Oscar party that gets going after most talent, execs and dealmakers leave the Vanity Fair-sponsored party.

All party plans are subject to change if the WGA sets up picket lines at the Oscars. The Golden Globes night parties got scratched at the last minute, when it was clear that actors would not show up, and stars stayed away from studio-sponsored pre-parties. While agency-sponsored parties are different, it’s unclear whether stars would consider it bad form to celebrate while writers are on picket lines.

Limato, who began hosting his bash almost two decades ago, vowed that he’ll restore the revelry next year. He started the agency pre-party tradition at a time when the most exclusive party was the post-Oscar bash given by agent Swifty Lazar.

“Swifty was a friend and I certainly didn’t want to compete with him, but he said he was fine with me doing one the night before,” Limato said. “I fully intend to continue the tradition of the party, just not this year. Maybe this time, I’ll go and join Bryan and Ari, who are friends of mine.”

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