EXCLUSIVE: The ink might not be dry yet, but sources said that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will lock in Mike De Luca and Jennifer Todd to return and produce the 90th Academy Awards next year. It is expected that they will shortly be set for an encore. At the same time, sources said the Academy is also moving aggressively to bring back Jimmy Kimmel for a reprise as host.
This comes days after an Academy board meeting about the Oscars, and the announcement by outgoing president Cheryl Boone Isaacs about steps to fix the snafu that turned a well-reviewed Oscar show into a debacle when a distracted PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant handed the wrong Best Picture envelope to Warren Beatty. Beatty paused, and showed it to Faye Dunaway, who didn’t see Emma Stone’s name and mistakenly announced the Best Picture prize to La La Land. Chaos ensued and it took minutes for the prize to instead go to rightful winner Moonlight.
This marred a broadcast that held a brisk pace, with a stripped-down love of movies theme that balanced well with Kimmel’s emceeing effort. Kimmel’s running “feud” with Matt Damon (a producer of Best Picture nominee Manchester By The Sea) played well all night, and so did the set piece in which they brought the passengers of a Hollywood tour bus to the front of the auditorium to interact with the biggest stars in moviedom.
Squaring the producers early, and moving toward securing the host, is a proactive move that can only help an Oscar broadcast whose historic 90th anniversary creates opportunities to celebrate the history of moviemaking from when Oscar began in 1929. Last fall, De Luca and Todd weren’t set as producers until November 4, and Kimmel wasn’t set as host until December 5. That is very late in the proceedings for a technically challenging show that requires the building of sets, choreography of musical numbers, and the securing of star presenters. Their predecessors, Reggie Hudlin and David Hill, were set September 1, 2015 by comparison, and that is usually the norm.
While their stripped-down Oscars held its charms, De Luca and Todd — and Kimmel if he ultimately says yes — will have plenty of time to put together a more elaborately choreographed program.
The Academy would not comment.