Oscars hire Neil Meron & Craig Zadan to produce third consecutive telecast

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.)

Oscars calendar sets key dates for 2015

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

Carrie Underwood competing in mini/movie,
‘Sound of Music’ in special class at Emmys

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. 

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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. 

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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.”  

One thought on “Oscars hire Neil Meron & Craig Zadan to produce third consecutive telecast

  1. This is not great news. Ratings were high, social media was ablaze and the kids started watching – it doesn’t mean the producers were great. Avatar is the highest grossing movie – it doesn’t mean it is a great movie.
    The first year – Musicals from the Last 10 Years – was very self serving; a picture they produced was championed! The second year was incredibly broad; by celebrating heroes you can include most movies and in the hero montage they did!
    Rather than heap praise on the two producers they should look what the hosts brought with them and how they marketed the event.
    Narrow the theme to something like heroes of comedy, get more stars from yesterday presenting, bump some of the technical categories and bring back the Honorary Oscars to the main telecast (Angela Lansbury was robbed of a true awe-inspiring standing ovation) and, I know it has nothing to do with the producers, be more original with the nominations.
    Every year the Oscars are predictable with mimicking less award show nominations, and every year we get terrible actor + superlative performance = Oscar, this year was Jared Leto’s turn. To me it is a slap in the face to superlative actors +nuanced perfomance = nomination.
    Another movie analogy! James Bond is iconic, it shouldn’t mimic newer successful franchises like Bourne. James Bond should lead. The Oscars should do the same.

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