During our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), longtime Academy Awards production designer Derek McLane recalls sitting in the audience during the most unexpected Oscars ceremony in recent memory. “I was just as amazed as anybody else was,” he reveals when asked about the stunning moment when it was revealed that a mix-up over envelopes lead to “La La Land” mistakenly being awarded Best Picture over actual winner “Moonlight.” “I had no idea what was happening while it was happening,” he adds, “and sort of only learned about it really as everybody else did.”
McLane has worked on the Oscars since 2013, winning an Emmy for the 2014 ceremony and competing again in 2013, 2015, and 2016. For this year’s broadcast he reveals, “I did something that I hadn’t really done with the show before, which is base it on an architectural period. I based it on American Art Deco and regency architecture, and really kind of went with that the entire way through the show.”
He also talked about his work on “Hairspray Live!,” NBC’s latest live television musical production. Although he’s no stranger to the format, reaping Emmy bids for “Peter Pan Live” in 2015 and “The Wiz Live” in 2016, “this one differed in a lot of ways. For one, ‘Hairspray’ is a huge show (that) “has so many elements to it. It has a lot of different locations, a lot of different sets, a lot of production numbers, a lot of choreography. The biggest difference by far is that we were able to shoot this both indoors and outdoors” (which) “made the event really exciting, but it also made it much more complex because we were spread out over such a large area.”
A veteran theatrical designer, McLane won a Tony for “33 Variations” in 2009. He also contended for “The Pajama Game” in 2006, “Ragtime” in 2010, and “Anything Goes” in 2011. Check out our full interview above for more about his two Emmy nominations in 2017 for “The Oscars” and “Hairspray Live!”
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