In the never-ending quest for more viewers, the Academy Awards have taken occasionally bizarre steps. Considering how poorly received most of them have been, chief among them the Best Popular Film debacle, this latest idea is positively quaint. Hoping to drum up extra audience members and to make this an even bigger event, the powers that be are calling in some celebrity reinforcements.
According to Deadline, earlier today producer Donna Gigliotti and producer-director Glenn Weiss announced who will be introducing the eight Best Picture nominees at the 91st Oscars. Instead of talent from the individual films, it’s going to be A-list celebrities and cultural icons. It’s a definite change in direction for the show, but one that actually may pay dividends.
In part, this is what Gigliotti and Weiss said:
“Movies connect us all. They move us, and they create moments and memories that unite us. We are thrilled to assemble this well-known array of film lovers to introduce and share their reflections on the Best Picture-nominated movies.”
So who are these film lovers? Well, José Andrés, Dana Carvey, Queen Latifah, John Lewis, Diego Luna, Tom Morello, Mike Myers, Trevor Noah, Amandla Stenberg, Barbra Streisand, and Serena Williams are the crop selected. In some cases, it seems rather obvious which movie they’ll be doing the intro for. Others should come as an interesting surprise. They’ll join the previously announced presenters, as well as Bette Midler, who will be performing “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” when the Best Original Song nominees are cited.
We’ll see on Sunday how these individuals mesh with the Oscar telecast. With no host, producers are clearly attempting to cast a wide net for presenters. The question is, will it pay off with ratings?