The producers of the Academy Awards have good news for those watching the Oscar ceremony at home: They’re trying to cut out the boring parts.
Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron say they watched 40 years of past ceremonies to find ways to keep the show moving at a brisk pace. They say they are looking to nip and tuck unnecessary moments that can turn the show into a marathon.
Zadan and Meron said they identified time-consuming segments that might run only 15 or 30 seconds, but which collectively can bog down the show. In some years, the Oscars have run to a ponderous four hours or more.
“You start adding up those 30 seconds, and you have an accumulation of time that you can use for entertainment. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re learning a lot about the things that we don’t need in the show,” Zadan said.
“The main goal is to honour the nominees and the winners. And then beside that, there’s a lot of pregnant pauses that you get in the show. ... We’ve scooped out a lot of those pauses and created more time for performance and entertainment.”
Zadan and Meron said they have moments planned that should appeal to all ages and interests, including performances by Adele, Norah Jones and Barbra Streisand and a tribute to the James Bond franchise.
They also are working closely with Oscar host Seth MacFarlane, creator of “Family Guy” and last summer’s comedy hit “Ted” who is known for edgy, potty-mouthed humour. The producers said they’re not worried that they will need an emergency switch to censor MacFarlane.
“There’s no oversized red button” to bleep the broadcast if MacFarlane goes too far, Meron said. “Seth is Seth, and we love him.”
But if the Oscar producers really want to keep the show moving, they might seek advice from Robert De Niro, a supporting-actor nominee for “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Meeting with reporters at a nominees luncheon, seven-time nominee, two-time winner De Niro was asked how big a deal the Oscars are to him now. The notoriously terse De Niro lived up to his reputation with a five-word answer.
“It’s still a big deal,” he said, and moved on to the next question.