Expect A Toned-down Oscar Ceremony

Security will be a chief concern and the tone of the show will be “appropriate” to the mood of a nation at war when the Academy Awards are presented March 25, said the telecast’s producer, Gil Cates.

“The tone and content will reflect the Persian Gulf situation. It won’t be a frivolous show, or inappropriate to our times,” said Cates, who added that security at the Shrine Auditorium will be “absolutely complete.”

“The people we have working on it are the very best and they have assured us the security for the event will be top-notch,” said Cates. He said he has not received any threats of terrorist action in connection with the ABC-TV event, which has a worldwide tv audience estimated at 1 billion.

Mentioning such security strategies as police dogs, Pinkerton men and airplane detectors, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences exec director Bruce Davis said, “It would be foolish to talk more about it because it’s no use inviting someone to work around the provisions that will be made.”

Part of the show’s focus will be on a celebration of 100 years of filmmaking. Documaker Chuck Workman has been commissioned to create a short film around the evolution of filmmaking for the Oscarcast, and Richard Schickel, Marshall Flaum and Douglass M. Stewart also will contribute segments.

First celebrity presenter to appear on the show will be Bob Hope, stretching his Oscar ceremony participation record to 27. Hope’s first was in 1939. He was host of the 25th annual awards presentation in 1953, the first to be televised, as well as at the 38th awards show in 1966, the first to be televised in color.

He served as sole host for the Academy’s 50th anniversary awards show, and holds the record for number of times as Oscar emcee, with 15 such appearances.

Academy president Karl Maiden said the key creators of last year’s show are back. However, the writers have changed; this year’s scribes will be Buzz Kohan and Hal Kanter. Last year’s show was penned by Mel Shavelson, Ernest Lehman and Marty Farrell.

As previously announced, Debbie Allen is the show’s choreographer, Ray Aghayan is costume designer, Bill Conte is musical director, Fred Hayman is fashion coordinator and Billy Crystal is emcee.

Oscar-winner Denzel Washington will join AMPAS prez Karl Maiden in announcing nominations for the Academy Awards. Nominees in more than 20 categories will be announced at 5:30 a.m. PST Feb. 13 at the Academy’s Goldwyn Theater.

This year’s Oscar poster artwork was designed by Saul Bass, the Oscar-winning filmmaker and graphic designer. It will appear on a billboard donated by Gannett Outdoor to be erected on the Sunset Strip prior to the broadcast.

Danette Herman has been appointed executive in charge of talent for the Academy Awards show. It will be the 13th Oscar telecast on which Herman has served in this position.

The Academy Awards will be presented March 25 at the Shrine Auditorium and televised live ABC-TV.

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