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BREAKING NEWS:   Hollywood, CA. Protesting stars force cancellation of Academy Awards!

The list of Hollywood stars boycotting the 83rd Academy Awards has grown so long that organizers have been forced to pull the plug on Sunday’s ceremony. Unnamed sources say ABC will air a re-broadcast of last year’s Oscars telecast in its place.

What started out as a boycott by a few disgruntled A-listers has grown into a protest movement inspired by recent events in the Middle East. At the core of the dispute are unfair labor practices and human rights abuses that the stars are forced to endure every Oscar season. The movement reached the tipping point when the Academy announced that this year’s red carpet, which the stars are forced to walk, would be even longer than last year’s 1.75 mile-long stretch.

“Every year they make us walk a little bit farther, but this is ridiculous,” said two-time Oscar winner, Al Pacino. “When I was nominated for Serpico in ‘73, it was just a strip of carpet from the curb to the entrance of the Chandler Pavilion. Now it’s like the Bataan death march.” Nominees have complained for years about the lack of water and facilities along the route. In 2008 Javier Bardem was issued a citation for urinating in an alley off of Vine Street.

Last year’s red carpet walk took nearly three hours and delayed the start of the awards ceremony. “It wouldn’t be so bad if folks didn’t stop every three feet to sign autographs or pose for pictures,” said would-be presenter, Tom Hanks. “When I heard this year’s carpet was three and a half miles long, I got depressed. Then I saw the YouTube video of Natalie tagging big Oscar, and I knew there was hope.”

Hanks is referring to the viral video of best actress nominee, Natalie Portman, spray-painting the slogan, “Hell No, We Won’t Show,” on a giant Oscar statue outside the Kodak theater, site of the canceled ceremony.  “When a first-time nominee has the balls to do that, it gives you the courage to speak up,” said Jeff Bridges. “I’m out of here.”

Publicly, executives at ABC have denied the existence of the boycott and continue to air promos for Sunday’s telecast, even as workers dismantle sets at the Kodak theatre. The network has employed several strategies to lure the actors back to the event, including using stars’ mothers as bait. Musical numbers were dropped from the show at the last minute, to make room for the moms, who were to be featured with their offspring during “special” segments. In lieu of the ceremony, winners will be announced via Twitter on the morning of February 28.