Did you love the recent Oscars hosted by Ellen DeGeneres as much as we did?
If so, you will be delighted with Monday’s news from the motion picture academy that kudocast producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan will be in charge again for the third year running. The 87th annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015.
In making the announcement, academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Craig and Neil back to produce the Oscars again in 2015. Their showmanship has elevated the show to new heights and we are excited to keep the momentum going with this creative partnership.” (The last time that the Oscars had the same producer for three years running was when Gil Cates oversaw the 1997-1999 awards.)
Academy CEO Dawn Hudson also praised the pair, noting that “this year’s show reached viewers of all ages and set social media records, proving that Craig and Neil are masters at tapping into the zeitgeist and capturing the hearts of movie fans around the world.”
These savvy showbiz vets may well be in competition with themselves at the upcoming Emmys as this year’s Oscars could be pitted against their smash hit live production of “The Sound of Music” in the Special Class category. Last year, their first Oscarcast lost this race to the 2012 Tony Awards hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.
That 2013 edition of the Academy Awards was emceed by Seth MacFarlane. While that show may not have had TV critics swooning, it was the first in four years to top 40 million viewers. And it scored the highest rating (26.60) since the 2004 Oscars (26.68) when the final installment of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy swept the awards. And this year’s Oscars did even better, with an audience of 43.7 million viewers, the most watched since 2000 when “American Beauty” reigned supreme.
The pair, who executive produced 2002 Best Picture champ “Chicago,” gave the 2013 Oscarcast the theme of recent movie musicals while this year’s show was dedicated to heroes.
In 2013, Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones performed “All That Jazz” from that film while Jennifer Hudson recreated her Oscar-winning turn from “Dreamgirls” and the cast of “Les Miserables” sang the nominated tune “Suddenly.” They also enticed Oscar champ Barbra Streisand to sing on the show for the first time since 1976. And they had both Adele and Dame Shirley Bassey belt out Bond theme tunes.
In 2014, musical highlights included a performance by two-time Oscar nominee Bette Midler of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” Pink performing 1939 Best Song winner “Over the Rainbow” in celebration of the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” and Tony champ Idina Menzel belting out the Oscar-winning “Let It Go” from “Frozen.”