Oscar fans have a pretty good picture of what to expect come Oscar night. Based on announcements made by producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (the executive producers behind "Smash"), the ceremony looks to be a night full of music and celebration of film.
Here's what we know so far:
The Family Guy," "American Dad" and “Ted” has appeal to today’s television audiences, and with his quick wit and iconic voices he should prove an engaging and entertaining host, although inside sources say that his familiar "Family Guy" and "American Dad" voices will not be featured. “We needed a host who can sing, and [McFarlane] gives us that whenever we need to use him in the show for music,” said Zadan.
And this year, instead of abruptly ending the show after the Best Picture winner is announced, Zadan and Meron are planning an “actual ending” with a musical number featuring McFarlane and special guest Kristin Chenoweth (of "GCB," "Glee" and Broadway fame). “It will be one big, can’t-miss thing,” said Meron.
Zadan and Meron’s approach for this year’s show is celebrating the music of the movies and movies themselves, something that they feel the show has gotten away from in recent years. “What’s happened in the last number of years is they’ve only celebrated the nominees and the winners of that year, “said Zadan, “We’re certainly celebrating the winners and the nominees of this year, but in addition to that, we’ve broadened the base, and we’re hopefully going to entertain an audience that loves movies.”
What does that mean, exactly? Well, here’s what we’ve been able to piece together based on press releases and the list of guest appearances at this year’s show:
- There will be a “50 years of Bond” tribute featuring British singer Dame Shirley Bassey, whose rendition of "Goldfinger" is iconic. Will all six actors who have played 007 appear on stage together? Despite the fact that Zadan and Meron have denied speculation and false press that this will happen, the Oscars known for their surprises.
- All 5 Oscar-nominated songs will be performed live. And that means that Adele will perform “Skyfall” live for the first time and Sunday’s show will be her first televised performance since the Grammys last year.
- Norah Jones will perform “Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” the main title song from Ted (for which MacFarlane is a first-time nominee as cowriter of the song).
- Jennifer Hudson ("Dreamgirls") will take part in a tribute to movie musicals of the past decade. Also confirmed to perform in this tribute are key members of the cast of "Les Misérables" and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in Chicago.
- Barbara Streisand will perform for the first time in 36 years on the Oscar stage (and only the second time in her career). Although Zadan and Meron won’t revel what she’ll perform we hope that it will be the iconic “The Way We Were” from the movie of the same name in honor of its late composer Marvin Hamlisch.
The inevitable question: What is the show’s runtime? “Our goal has always been to be as close to three hours as humanly possible,” says Zadan. “What that means in reality is hard to say because we have so much entertainment. A lot depends on the audience reaction, how long the speeches go, stuff we have no control over. But we’re trying to make that time fly by with lots of entertainment.”
Don Mischer, 15-time Emmy winner and a producer of the Oscars for the past two years, is returning to direct Sunday’s show.
Stay tuned for more about the ceremony on The Gold Knight Blog.
The 85th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2012, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.
Deadline.com: Oscars ceremony producers want to uphold tradition and modernize
The Hollywood Reporter.com: Oscar producers and Seth MacFarlane plan
Deadline.com: ‘Les Mis’ cast, Jennifer Hudson, Catherine Zeta-Jones to sing live in musicals tribute