×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Oscar Producers Considering Two Hosts in 2016

The Academy is trying something new with its Oscar producers this year, and David Hill told Variety, “It’s your fault!”

On March 26, a Variety column urged the Acad to expand its thinking in picking an Oscarcast producer. The org usually hires film producers for the show, but live TV requires a different set of skills — so they should consider veterans of TV sports or concert shows, citing Hill as an example. Academy execs read the piece and began talks with him; the org ultimately tapped into both worlds, with Hill and movie vet Reginald Hudlin sharing duties, as announced Sept. 1. As Hill told Variety on Tuesday afternoon, “Reggie knows film inside out, and I know live television, so we are hopefully going to come up with something interesting.”

On Wednesday morning, Hudlin said their first big decision — picking a host — is a work in progress. An Entertainment Weekly report indicated it would be a team, but Hudlin said that’s only one option. “We’re still very much looking at every possibility. At our first meeting, I mentioned a possible pairing, and David flipped; since then I have thrown out another four or five names and David brought up ideas.” Hudlin said it could be an existing team (rumors bruited Key and Peele, or Amy Poehler and Tina Fey), or it could be a duo who have never worked together: “We have talked about people who might be exciting odd couples,” he laughed.

As for the show, neither producer would share specific ideas, but it’s clear that discussions are already energetic. And, like the Variety-inspired outside-the-box approach in hiring, they are clearly thinking of innovations. “We are in the brainstorming process, when there are no bad ideas,” said Hudlin. “We will explore them all, then eventually take a hammer and chisel to them.”

Hill said, “We’ve talked about the number of cameras, audio, lights, sets, what awards should be given out first, how do we explain the difference between sound mixing and sound editing. The challenge is to make it entertaining, so it doesn’t seem like a lesson, so the audience cares for people when they get onstage.”

He didn’t say so, but the show could borrow a page from his previous work. Hill spent more than 25 years at Fox, working on sports shows (including six Super Bowls) and “American Idol.” All of these used video backstories, offering profiles of athletes or the singing contestants to complement the action. Such backstories could be invaluable to an Oscarcast as it humanizes nominees not well known to the public. (On Tuesday, Hill subtly paid tribute to “the godfather of sports TV,” Roone Arledge, who innovated these “up close and personal” profiles.)

Also in the mix is the spontaneous/emotional factor of the show. Hill said one of the most poignant moments in MTV’s Aug. 30 VMA’s was Justin Bieber’s weeping as the audience welcomed him back. “It was such an intense, human moment. But they blew it; they left the shot, they didn’t stay on it. That was the real drama, a wonderful moment. That’ s what we are aiming for.”

Even if they add new elements to the Academy Awards, that won’t mean a longer show. Hill offered words of relief for Oscar lovers: “The one thing I’ve always prided myself on is finishing a show on time.” Hudlin concurred: “Above all, I want the show to be tight and fast-paced. This is the biggest canvas you can paint on; the world is watching. And we want it to be for movie fans and for filmmakers.”

After this year’s Feb. 22 Oscarcast, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron revealed they’d just concluded a three-year contract with the Academy, which wanted to maintain some continuity in producers, rather than having a new one every year.

So are Hudlin and Hill set for three years? “I don’t know!” exclaimed Hill. “If we screw up, it’ll be goodbye. But if we have as much fun doing this as preliminary conversations have indicated, they will want us back!”

More Film

  • Brett Leonard Boards 'Elijah'

    Film News Roundup: 'Lawnmower Man' Director Brett Leonard Boards 'Elijah'

    In today’s film news roundup, “Elijah” gets a director, a French fry documentary starts shooting and “Uglydolls” moves its release date forward. PROJECT LAUNCH Brett Leonard, best known for directing ”The Lawnmower Man” and “Virtuosity,” will direct the supernatural feature film “Elijah,” based on the Old Testament prophet. Related Newton Thomas Sigel Receives Praise From [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Commercial Negotiations Set for February

    With no fanfare, SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry have set a mid-February start for negotiations for a successor deal to the union’s master contract, Variety has learned. The current three-year deal — which covers about $1 billion in annual earnings — expires on March 31. SAG-AFTRA and the Joint Policy Committee of the ad industry [...]

  • SONDRA LOCKESONDRA LOCKE - 1986

    Oscar Nominee Sondra Locke Dies at 74

    Actress and director Sondra Locke, who received a supporting actress Oscar nomination in her first movie role for “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” died Nov. 3 at 74. The Los Angeles County Public Health Department confirmed her death. She died due to breast and bone cancer, according to Radar Online, which reported that she [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • 'Dead Women Walking' Review: Uncompromising, Powerful

    Film Review: 'Dead Women Walking'

    The sober and gripping “Dead Women Walking” focuses on the final days of a series of female inmates facing the death sentence. Divided into nine chapters, each inching its way inexorably closer to the moment of execution, the drama turns the fragmentation of its approach to a powerful advantage. Not only do the individual stories [...]

  • Sam Mendes

    Sam Mendes' World War I Drama '1917' Set for Awards-Season Launch on Christmas 2019

    Universal Pictures has given an awards-season release date of Dec. 25, 2019, to Sam Mendes’ World War I drama “1971.” Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners is producing “1917” through its DreamWorks Pictures brand. “1917” will open in limited release on Christmas Day then go wide two weeks later on Jan. 10, 2020. Mendes wrote the script [...]

  • Ventana Sur Queer Latin Film Panel

    Ventana Sur: Panel Talks Merits, Setbacks in Latin Queer Cinema

    BUENOS AIRES — Four venerable professionals from the cinema world joined on Monday evening for Queer Cinema In Latin America, a frank discussion on Latin America’s role within the queer filmscape for Ventana Sur’s Industry conference series held at the UCA campus in Buenos Aires. Touching on advancements in character arc and notable achievements in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content