2016 Oscars: First-Time Producers Reveal Secrets Behind the Show
By Faryn Shiro and Kelly Hagan, ABC News
This year’s Academy Awards may be an Oscars show like we’ve never seen before thanks to two men behind the scenes who have been nicknamed “the two dads.”
David Hill, a veteran producer of sports and concert events, and Reginald Hudlin, a writer, director and producer, are producing this year’s Oscars. The occasion marks both the first time the men have worked together and the first time they’ve produced Hollywood’s biggest awards show.
Hudlin told “Good Morning America” co-anchor Lara Spencer that the “two dads” nickname “evolved over the last couple of months” as the pair crafted the awards show. When they first met, Hudlin said the two knew right away what had to be done at this year’s Oscars.
“We agreed that Chris Rock should be the host, and we agreed to bring the orchestra back into the theater,” said Hudlin, who was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar as producer of “Django Unchained” in 2012.
“There’s an embarrassment of riches,” Hill added of Rock’s comedy gold mine. “Let’s put it that way.”
Rock is expected to address the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that erupted after the all-white slate of acting nominations was announced. Hudlin and Hill said the controversy has not impacted their plans for the broadcast.
“We wanted a show that looked like America, that looked like the world,” Hudlin said. “Most of our booking was done before the nominees were announced.”
Hill, who won an Emmy for producing the 2011 World Series broadcast and is a former executive producer of “American Idol,” said the pair also looked at social media, asking the question, “Who do people really, really follow?”
“We just wanted to get the biggest, best talent we could get,” Hudlin added. “And, of course, the most talented people in our business.”
An array of new faces is just the beginning of the changes made by Hill and Hudlin. The pair are also completely changing the order of the awards given out.
“I want people to watch and be surprised,” Hudlin said. “You’re going to be seeing things the way you’ve never seen them before.”
“We’re making the show, and the order of the show, for people who love films,” said Hill.
One already-announced change is that the names of family, friends and colleagues the winners want to thank in their speeches will be scrolled at the bottom of the screen as the winners are speaking. The idea is to give the winners more time.
“There’s gonna be a lot of experimentation,” Hudlin said. “Some of it may work and some of it doesn’t work, but it’s something new.”
Winners will receive an Oscar statue that is now completely hand-cast in bronze before getting its 24-karat finish and the Oscar stage will glitter in gold itself thanks to more than 200,000 Swarovski crystals.
“My biggest inspiration this year was 1970s glam and, of course, the theme of this year’s show, which is that everyone dreams in gold,” set designer Derek McLane told ABC News.
This year the show will open with an animated short set to a musical score created by famed composer Danny Elfman.
“It is kind of a fantasy factory of how Oscars are made,” Elfman said.