Oscars: Fourth Group Of Presenters Includes JJ Abrams, Sacha Baron Cohen & Morgan Freeman

star-wars-the-force-awakens-premiere-jj-abrams3RD UPDATE, 8:33 AM: Morgan Freeman and John Legend have been added to the list of presenters along with J.J. Abrams, Sacha Baron Cohen and Henry Cavill. Oscar producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin also said that Dave Grohl will join for a special performance. Also today, the Academy said this year’s The Oscars Backstage stream on Oscar.com will be hosted by Orlando Jones, Diane Mizota, Matt Shively, film critic Ben Lyons and reporter Chris Connelly.

Cate Blanchett2ND UPDATE, February 12 PM: Sixteen more folks suddenly have plans for two weeks from Sunday. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just unveiled the latest batch of presenters for the 88th Annual Academy Awards. Newly set to dole out hardware are Abraham Attah, Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, Louis C.K., Common, Russell Crowe, Chris Evans, Jennifer Garner, Louis Gossett, Jr, Michael B. Jordan, Rachel McAdams, Dev Patel, Eddie Redmayne, Daisy Ridley, Sarah Silverman and Sofia Vergara.

Steve CarellUPDATED, February 1: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the second group of presenters for the 88th Academy Awards this month. They are Steve Carell, Priyanka Chopra, Quincy Jones, Byung-hun Lee, Jared Leto, Julianne Moore, Olivia Munn, Margot Robbie, Jason Segel, Andy Serkis, J.K. Simmons, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.

PREVIOUSLY, January 28: Amid the cloud of the Oscars diversity flap, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled the first batch of presenters for the 88th Academy Awards next month. It certainly is a diverse list that includes a number of pop stars and veteran actors. The group includes Benicio Del Toro, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Ryan Gosling, Kevin Hart, Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, Charlize Theron, Jacob Tremblay, The Weeknd and Pharrell Williams.

“Each of these artists brings a wonderfully distinctive element to the Oscars stage,” show producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin said. “Together they represent the many thrilling ways stories can be shared about the human experience, and we’re honored they will be part of the celebration.”

The trophy show is set for February 28 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. ABC will carry the ceremony live.

Denise Petski contributed to this report.

  1. Hey Academy,

    You got what you wanted…an awards show which will now be completely driven by diversity. From now on this season, and maybe for a long time, everything you do will be under the diversity
    microscope. Perhaps, someday, the focus will actually be on filmmaking and filmmakers…but, by then no one will care.

    In fact, I doubt anyone cares now except for the absurdity of your immediate actions after years of inaction…with absolutely no dialogue with the members.

    Oh, and by the way, if you cut out the older retired members from voting, who of the BUSY/WORKING young members will have time to view all the films. Trust me, the old folks watch more and have the time needed to properly nominate and vote. Who cares…right, AMPAS…you are becoming diverse in your own minds. Reality is another issue entirely.

    1. Within a 72 hour period, a member posted a video about her “outrage” that her husband wasn’t nominated, a few others chimed in and bingo! an “emergency” meeting of the “Board” is called and a solution is found! The solution? All those actors and directors who made their living in the film business didn’t nominate a few token minorities, so we better do something about that!

      The decision is to take away the vote from those who aren’t as “active” as, say, the executive members they have been taking in at a furious rate. I mean Les Moonves -who famously makes 50 million a year – couldn’t get in the Academy as an actor, but voila! he runs a TV network and somehow that qualifies him to judge what he couldn’t do professionally.

      What do you expect from an “academy” that chooses a PR person as it’s president! Can you imagine a literary or scientific “academy” having a PR person as it’s main executive? PR people are groomed to put out fires, close up controversies; they certainly aren’t equipped to defend and define the esthetic goals of an artistic group. Their fast and furious pseudo reaction to the manufactured “crisis” is an absurd peon to political correctness that is embarrassing to those of us who, from an early age, devoted our lives to an artform.

      The only decent thing to do is to have the whole Board resign. Instead of the asinine way they are chosen—thousands of names are sent out without any indication of where the person lives, whether or not they are interested in being a rep for the group. Most members I’ve talked to just throw them out—it is meant to be confusing and to maintain a status quo. Watch, the little group will protect their own interests—they give themselves titles of ’emeritus” after serving their term—they like to think of themselves as “academics” but, of course, they are just pretending.

      1. Thank you for your honest comment, AMPAS member. I’m terribly frustrated by what I’ve witnessed. Having given so much of my time and professionalism to this organization it really is troubling knowing that our future integrity is suspect.

        I’m not the sort of person to whine, point fingers, or scream that the world is unfair. I’m just a lover of film and the magnificent legacy that we’ve created for generations to come. It is indeed a sad day that we’ve allowed ourselves to be insulted, and our organizations integrity to be challenged by a few actors who’s egos have been hurt.

        It’s time for the president of The Academy to step aside. She no longer is able to be unbiased and supportive of the organization that she’s supposed to be lifting up. It appears that she’s more concerned with what ‘non members’ will think of HER, than what her actual job is. Our granita tigon is about excellence in the art of filmmaking. Not everyone can be nominated, and not everyone can win. That’s just a fact of life. Quotas and entitlements have no place in the world of creative filmmaking.

        I’m sickened by all of this and will probably withdraw my membership. When the recognition of excellence in films becomes a test of political correctness then our legacy has been corrupted and becomes insignificant. The Oscars are NOT the People’s Choice Awards. The Oscars are NOT about ticket sales. The Oscars are not a popularity contest. Period.


    2. Rod Lurie claimed the older voters he talked to didn’t watch Compton (much less Beasts of No Nation) because they can’t relate to the “noise”, not due to lack of time. Before we get to talking meritocracy, there is the issue of blinders and inherent bias.

      1. Maybe it’s not so much (racial) bias against BoNN, as it was the fact that this was really a Netflix movie streamed endlessly on people’s televisions and computers…and that its small little release to theatres was just an opportunistic ploy. BoNN should really be up for Emmys – not Academy Awards. I believe it’s format – not skin colour – that is the issue, and conveniently overlooked..

    3. Hahaha…don’t you worry your silly old brain. Young members can make time to view all the films, properly nominate, and vote just like any old retiree would. Young people are capable of being just as thoughtful and opinionated as old people, and more likely to be a lot less biased because they grew up in a more diverse environment.

      This isn’t about affirmative action. This is about broadening the voting base that more accurately reflects the current REALITY as you call it.

      You’re just being an old grump because you feel entitled to stay in an elitist group and haven’t earned the right to do so in decades.

  2. Dear Oscar producers,

    It would be nice if the filmmaking community got the opportunity to see a few legendary figures on the Oscar stage, reuniting casts for instance. Have Jack Nicholson and Luise Rainer present an award (40th anniversary of BP win for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). Taxi Driver 40th. Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster for Silence of the Lambs 25th. How about having Oscar-winning directors present Best Director? Bring back Ang Lee, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, or Kathryn Bigelow. Invite a few of the truly legendary actors still alive, if they are up for the trip or even if they live in LA.

    Make it partly about the tradition of filmmaking to take emphasis off the lack of diversity. Because first and foremost the Oscars should be aspire to be about great work.

    1. You articulated an issue I’ve had for years. Why doesn’t the Academy haul out the older stars? Former winners, nominees, and dynamic duos of yesteryear? It would have been nice to see, oh, say, Joanne Woodward present Best Picture. Or how ’bout a Redford/Streisand reunion? Or a Redford/Streep? A Jon Voight/Dustin Hoffman? Faye and Warren? And for diversity’s sake, wouldn’t it be great to have Diana Ross/Cicely Tyson/ Diahann Carroll (all former nominees) get together on stage?? The possibilities are endless…

  3. How about giving honorary oscars to some of the African American actors who have been completely overlooked and never even nominated in past years. Like Carl Weathers, Richard Pryor, Cleavon Little, Blair Underwood, Keith David…the list goes on.

    1. Hahahaaaa, honorary awards for “African Americans”? So, how do we identify an “African American” from ‘black’ Americans who’s cultural identity is not AFRICAN. Contrary to much of the black – elitist – rhetoric the the majority of ‘Hollywood’ blacks’ blah, blah, blah about — many Americans with brown skin simply identify as AMERICAN. When someone labels me as ‘African-American’, ‘a woman of color’, ‘a black woman’, ‘black’, etc., etc.. that label is for *their* comfort….I’m an AMERICAN. I don’t believe that I ever hear the ‘average Joe’ labeled as a white American. Can we just stop this bullshit! I am not from AFRICA. I’m from California as are the last five generations of my family. Prior to that five generations were from New England. We’ve been in this country for a long time, it’s about time to drop the African American label.

      1. Absolutely on the mark Jeanera. The term Äfrican-American”was invented in the 1980s by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Foolish then, and foolish now. Especially when contrasted with “white” for those of European or Australian descent. I have always resented being referred to as a “color”while self-privileged groups prance around as if “their”lineage is worthy of two Capital letters , a continent and a country. I even heard the two Brit black actors who have been bitching about not being nominated referred to as :African-Americans”-hahahahaha. The lame efforts to incorporate terms like Asian-American and Latino-American are just as foolish. America – by definition – was a melting pot of backgrounds and religions and races; one left behind the nationality of where one came from, to merge into a Whitmanesque vision of a body politic.The focus on race and terminology is a way to get the people looking away from the REAL inequality – income. This talk of “diversity”seems like high school camp talk that demeans the artists who have worked in the industry for decades. It’s PR. It’s the job of putting lipstick on pigs, that what PR people do. That’s why the scared cowering Board shoves a PR person out front to disparage the work of others and try to make it look like they are so, so slick and sensitive.

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