Let The Show Now Begin

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You — and I — have had a day to digest the Oscar nominees, and so have Laurence Mark and Bill Condon, producer and exec producer respectively of the Feb.22 show. So I phoned them to see if they are sticking to their guns of last Friday when they said they are inspired by the example of the Gower Champion-produced Oscar show of 1969. But now, how will today’s nominees fit in with those of 40 years ago?

Speaking for both, Mark told me, “We would have been thrilled with any selection-” but I interrupted by enumerating the heavy, serious tenor of the Best Pictures and their respective nominees with the music and animated nominees lightening up things.

He immediately reminded me that the central character who will be up there on the Kodak stage ringmastering the event will be Hugh Jackman — an award-winning actor who can do anything: act, sing, dance, and entertain an audience. I agreed, having seen Jackman in action “live” as well as and on screen. “He can handle a world of surprises,” Mark continued enthusiastically.

As for the drama accent of the nominees, Mark reminded, “The Oscars will be a celebration of ALL the movies of the year.” Yeah, but everyone wants to know who the winners are, not the also-ran. This past year will also illustrate a more-than-usual remembrance of departed movie creators. “In Memoriam” is always an important feature of the Oscar show.

I also asked for some revelation of their new look of the Kodak theater but Mark insisted on keeping it secret — “all the way up until you see it on the TV screen that night.” I was caught up in the producers’ enthusiasm, particularly since the five Best Picture Nominees are also my favorites — of course one in particular. And if you’ve been reading my blogs over the months, you can guess which one it is…

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