Cheryl Boone Isaacs on Jimmy Kimmel’s Oscars Return and ‘Moving on’ From Best Picture Flub

Jimmy Kimmel Oscars
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Tuesday unveiled its producers and host for next year, AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs enthused, “These are the right people at the right time. We’re planning a great show with a great team” for Oscar’s 90th birthday.

AMPAS announced that Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd will be producers of the March 4, 2018, ceremony, with Jimmy Kimmel as host. All three will be repeating their duties from this past year. “We were very pleased with the show this year and we love what this team delivered,” said Isaacs.

The Feb. 26 ceremony was generally well-received, up until the final moments, when PricewaterhouseCoopers gave the wrong best picture envelope to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. The snafu, with “Moonlight” eventually being named as the best-pic winner after the prize was mistakenly given to “La La Land,” was easily the big talking point of the evening, but the De Luca-Todd-Kimmel team can’t accept the credit (or blame) for the historic moment. And the rest of the show had been going well until then.

In conversation with Variety on Tuesday, Isaacs said diplomatically the Academy is “moving on. We had an incident that we took care of right away. We have a team who showed that they’re experts in producing a live and complex show, which was very well received by the public. And we’re very happy to have them back.”

Last year, De Luca and Todd were announced in November and Kimmel was unveiled a month later, so the mid-May unveiling seems early, but Isaacs said it is not unusual. “We’re right on time. These are very prolific people who are always busy, so we wanted to sign them as soon as possible. It’s not always easy to find a team who know what they’re doing, and all three of them proved they were the right people at the right time. It was all aligned and the chemistry worked. As we celebrate Oscar’s 90th anniversary, this is important.”

She declined to give any hints about what kind of additions might acknowledge the 90th.

Isaacs has served on various AMPAS committees for more than 25 years, and this will be the first time in four years that she won’t be president. Does that present mixed feelings?

She laughed, “I’ll be there! I will be sitting and smiling in the audience. I won’t be president but I will always be involved with the Academy.”

She was first elected president in 2013, but declined to handicap the June board elections or the presidential voting in August. She said simply, “The torch gets moved all the time; it always has, always will. It’s a continuum, and that serves the organization well.”

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