The producers of the highly unusual 93rd Academy Awards this year have promised to make the entire broadcast as if it were a movie itself. In line with that, they are “launching” it this way too with a set of 15 stars to take care of all presentation tasks, and also in place of a host (for a third year in a row).
However, among the “actors”, the producers seem to stick to at least a Tradition of the Oscars: Bringing back the four acting winners from the previous year to present the four categories of actor this year. Specifically How? ‘Or’ What they’ll be employed in the show the Academy didn’t say, but you can assume that’s why Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Brad Pitt, and Laura Dern are part of the proceedings.
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Phoenix, Zellweger and Dern have similarly done the Golden Globes, although Pitt will make his first appearance on the awards circuit this year at the Oscars. Also winner of last year’s Best Director award, Bong Joon Ho, who made four trips to the stage for Parasite, is also part of this set, presumably to feature the best director. The other names announced on Monday – in alphabetical order – are Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno, Reese Witherspoon and Zendaya.
“In keeping with our approach to giving awards as a film, we’ve assembled a cast of truly stellar stars,” said producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh. “There is so much power here, sunglasses may be needed.”
This idea of having a fixed group of presenters rotating in and out of the show is not new. When producer Gower Champion reinvented the 1969 Oscar show, he created what they called “Friends of Oscar,” with 10 stars serving exclusively as presenters (not host). The format was then successfully repeated the following year and has been tweaked occasionally over the decades – including for the innovative 2009 show produced by Bill Condon and Laurence Mark, which used combinations of five former winners each to present actor awards.
Additional talent joining the April 25 live show on ABC will be announced later. Word is that all nominated songs will be performed for the first time during the pre-show. We will see.