The 94th Oscars Telecast Sunday. Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes Host
By: Ellis Nassour
March 24, 2020: Moviedom’s 94th Academy Awards, saluting the best and brightest films of 2021, will telecast live on ABC from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre at 8 P.M. Eastern. The Red Carpet Show will telecast at 6:30 Eastern. At various times around the world, the Awards will showcase U.S. and world cinema to more than 200 nations and territories. Things are quasi back to normal. The program returns from Los Angeles’ Art Deco train station to the luxe Dolby Theatre, smack dab in the middle of Hollywood.
Hosting returns this year, with three stellar and sassy comic hosts: Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes. Co-producing are Will Packer and Shayla Cowan.
“The Oscars are all about uniting movie lovers,” quipped Packer, “It’s apropos that we’ve lined up three of the most dynamic and hilarious women – each with their very own comedic style. The fun they will have will translate to our worldwide audience. This year there are many changes and there’ll be lots of surprises. In fact, expect the unexpected!”
“We want people to get ready to have a good time,” said Hall. “It’s been a while and everyone is ready for some fun,” states Schumer. “Even if it might be at their expense!”added Sykes with a laugh.
Hall, probably best known for the hilarious Girls Trip, where she was in the good company of Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish, doesn’t limit herself to comedy, as she proved in Nine Perfect Strangers, where she survivedwithout getting a single laugh. She won’t be looking for laughs in Amazon and Big Indie’s horror drama Master, on which she served as executive producer. She’s a producer and star of the religion satire Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul, opposite Sterling K. Brown.
Emmy, Peabody, and Critics Choice honoree Schumer, has made her mark in The Humans, I Feel Pretty, and Trainwreck (which she also wrote). She’s expanding her horizons star, writer, executive producer, and director of the comedy series Life and Beth.
Best known for her comedy specials and stealing Monster-in-Law right from under Jane Fonda, the Emmy winning and beloved Sykes likes to stir things up (as she certainly did in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with her portrayal of the legendary and bawdy Moms Mabley), is a writer, comedian, actor and producer. She’s the executive producer, writer, and star of the series The Upshaws and is working side-by-side with Mel Brooks for his sequel, History of the World; Part II for Hulu.
Packer and Cowan have lined up quite a diverse group of presenters for the Oscars. They include Halle Bailey, Stephanie Beatriz, Josh Brolin, Ruth E. Carter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jacob Elordi, Lady Gaga, Jake Gyllenhaal, H.E.R., Tiffany Haddish, Woody Harrelson, Tony Hawk, Anthony Hopkins, Samuel L. Jackson, Lily James, Daniel Kaluuya, Zoë Kravitz, Mila Kunis, John Leguizamo, Simu Liu, Rami Malek, Shawn Mendes, Jason Momoa, Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong’o, Elliot Page, Rosie Perez, Tyler Perry, Chris Rock, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jill Scott, Naomi Scott, J.K. Simmons, Kelly Slater, Wesley Snipes, Uma Thurman, Serena Williams, Serena and Venus Williams, and Rachel Zegler. Also on hand will be DJ D-Nice and an All-Star Band, featuring Oscar’s music director Adam Blackstone, blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, percussionist and singer Sheila E., and genre-spanning pianist Robert Glasper.
The Oscars are taking a lesion from the Tony Awards and presenting the gold statuettes in several categories an hour before the show begins, but their victories will be edited into the telecast.
Hopefully, this big change – long in coming and didn’t go over well with some of the unions, will refresh the hours-long fest with more entertainment. Something new, engineered to garner more youth engagement, is the addition of two fan-voted awards.
OSCAR NOMINATION HIGHLIGHTS
Best Supporting Actor
Ciaran Hinds, Belfast
Troy Kotsur, CODA
Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog
J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
Best Supporting Actress
Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter
Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
Judi Dench, Belfast
Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car
Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Steven Spielberg, West Side Story
Drive My Car, Japan
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Bhutan
The Hand of God, Italy
The Worst Person in the World, Norway
As usual there was second –guessing about the list of Best Pictures – especially how Spider-Man: No Way Home and House of Gucci didn’t get nods; and there were some surprising snubs, such as no nods for the amazing performances of Oscar winners Lady Gaga and Jared Leto in House of Gucci, not to mention three-time Tony nominee Robin de Jesus in tick, tick…BOOM!
Best Original Song – and the Performers
“Be Alive,” King Richard, music and lyrics by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles
-Carter, performed by Beyoncé
“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda,
performed by Sebastián Yatra
“Down To Joy” from Belfast, music and lyrics by Van Morrison, because
Morrison is on tour, the tune will not be performed on the program
“No Time To Die” from No Time to Die, music and lyrics by Billie Eilish
and Finneas O’Connell, performed by by Billie Eilish and FINNEAS
“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days, music and lyrics by Diane
Warren, performed by Reba McEntire.
Danny Glover is the recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, given to an “individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” The award is named for the Danish actor and former Academy president, one of Hollywood’s most active philanthropists.
For the complete list of nominees, photo galleries, special video features,
more information on this year’s changes, and even a ballot where you can
vote for your favorites, visit www.Oscars.org. The site also has a feature on
recently opened Academy Museum.