Saturday, April 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Oscar producers suit up for the big game

By
From page A7 | February 26, 2014 | Leave Comment

ELLEN DEGENERES

Craig Zadan, right, and Neil Meron, left, will return to produce the 86th Academy Awards, with Ellen DeGeneres returning to host the Oscars for a second time.(Andrew Eccles/Courtesy ABC/MCT)

LOS ANGELES — For some it’s the Super Bowl, for others Olympic ice hockey – but for many, Oscar producer Neil Meron believes, the season’s big game takes place in black-tie.

“The Oscars is a sport,” Meron said in an interview Thursday from a small office backstage at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, where a skeleton crew had assembled to start preparing for the Academy Awards on Sunday. “There’s the excitement of watching something live, as it happens.”

Meron and his partner, Craig Zadan, are returning to produce the Oscars for a second year, this time bringing on Ellen DeGeneres as host for a second time and focusing the show on the theme of movie heroes, from Atticus Finch to Batman. DeGeneres’ affable style is a stark contrast to last year’s host, Seth MacFarlane, enlisted for his barbed, off-color humor and fan base among younger viewers.

“We want to have something for everybody in the audience to identify with,” Meron said of this year’s show. “We want to provide the broadest possible entertainment we possibly can.”

The duo are counting on DeGeneres’ wide appeal and a demographically generous smattering of performers to help lure a TV audience from all quadrants. Second only to the Super Bowl among live TV events, last year’s Oscars, which 40.3 million viewers tuned into on ABC, were the highest rated since 2010, and ratings were up 11 percent among those ages 18 to 49.

“The tone is Ellen,” Meron said. “Ellen is a brilliant comedian, she is warm, she takes jabs but in a very supportive sort of way. This show will be reflective of how Ellen is.”

DeGeneres, who emceed the Oscars once before in 2007, will be responsible not only for setting the show’s mood, Meron said, but also for the delicate task of balancing the home audience’s attention spans and the Dolby audience’s egos.

“Never neglecting the audience in the theater, you want to put on a good show for the people at home,” Meron said. “The people in the Dolby are nervous, and as the evening goes on there are more and more losers, and you want to give them a good time and keep things well paced. But you also have to hand out 24 awards.”

Not since Gil Cates – who produced the telecast a record 14 times between 1980 and 2008 – has a producing team returned to the Oscars.

According to Meron, the academy would like to return to stability in the Oscar telecast.

“(The academy) felt one of the things the Oscars have been missing has been some sort of continuity,” Meron said. “Every year they hire new producers it’s a learning curve all over again.”

Meron said he and Zadan looked at last year’s telecast and thought about what they should tweak. But they stand by what was perhaps the show’s most controversial facet, MacFarlane.

Though ratings for last year’s Oscars were up a dramatic 19 percent over 2012, MacFarlane’s ribald humor, including a song called “We Saw Your Boobs,” drew mixed reviews from critics, some of whom found it edgy while others saw it as vulgar.

“We love Seth,” Meron said. “It’s a very tough job to host a show and a very tough job to produce a show and you’re in a no-win position. We can walk away happy, happy that we chose Seth, happy with the show. . . . Going into the job before we even took it last year we asked ourselves if we were prepared to be attacked. And we said, ‘Yeah, sure.’”

Meron and Zadan have produced the movie musicals “Chicago” (the 2002 best picture winner) and “Hairspray” and the NBC telecast of “The Sound of Music Live!,” which attracted an impressive 18.6 million viewers. They will next turn to a film adaptation of the 1970s’ pop musical, “Pippin.”

Their musical-producing DNA surfaced in last year’s show theme — movie musicals — and will get considerable air time this year with live performances of all four nominated original songs, with Pharrell Williams performing “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2,” Idina Menzel singing “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” Karen O performing “The Moon Song” from “Her” and U2 playing “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

It’s the producers’ prerogative whether to include performances of the original songs in the telecast, and Meron said he and Zadan considered this year’s lineup a no-brainer, both in terms of talent and scope.

“Each song kind of hits a different tone for the audience,” Meron said. “It’s something for everyone.”

“Alone Yet Not Alone,” the original song that had its nomination revoked by the academy, will not be addressed in the telecast, Meron said.

“We get handed the nominees and then we do what we do with them,” he said. “The show deals with the nominees.”

Bette Midler will also perform for the first time at the Oscars – Meron declined to reveal the song she’ll sing, but given the show’s theme of movie heroes, “Wind Beneath My Wings” seems like a reasonable bet.

Reflecting on favorite moments from Oscars past, Meron cited ones over which producers largely had no control – Louise Fletcher accepting her Oscar for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by thanking her deaf parents in sign language and the streaker who ran across the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1974.

“And last year we had Jennifer Lawrence tripping up the steps,” Meron said with a sigh. “You can’t plan on that.”

Los Angeles Times

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano unemployment inches downward

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Transplant recipients talk about their best gifts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Police release name of woman found dead in Fairfield canal

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Spering, Bertani spar over fighting crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
Fairfield council candidates weigh in on crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Five homes featured on Symphony Home Tour

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Congregation invites public to Easter music, message

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
 
Local woman helps spread Easter joy

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B12 | Gallery

Weather for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B13

 
.

US / World

California farmers to get more water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Teen sentenced in Oakland toddler’s killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

More Latino than white students admitted to UC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
PG&E to be arraigned in fatal pipeline blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Mom and son who died in San Francisco fire ID’d

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
3 alleged gang members convicted of murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
From Clinton to Obama, many parallels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Easter on 4/20, pot holy day; pastors reach out

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
NASA’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Atheist national conference aims at Mormon church

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
White House updating online privacy policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

SpaceX making Easter delivery of station supplies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Sudden movement raises alarm in Wyoming slide area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Some countries get Obama, but want his wife, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
Man who avoided prison is overwhelmed by support

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
In Egypt, a corruption watchdog hit by backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Military scales down, modifies Guam buildup plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Captain of sunken SKorean ferry arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Diplomacy doesn’t move insurgents in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
57-nation OSCE plays key Ukraine monitoring role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine crisis: The turning points

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
.

Opinion

Cheers, jeers for the week of April 13-19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Here we go again in Sacramento

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Seniors, it’s never too late to do something about your health

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Prince reaches agreement with music label

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

‘The Boondocks’ back for final ‘offensive’ season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

Stratocaster still a favorite at 60

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Sports

Hertl has impressive playoff debut for Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors and Clippers take dislike to playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Big innings lift Mustangs over Indians

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ross, Padres beat Cain and Giants 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

A’s come out swinging to beat Astros 11-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors to start O’Neal for Bogut vs. Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Mets trade 1B Ike Davis to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

TNT’s Sager to miss NBA playoffs due to leukemia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

A’s lefty reliever Doolittle gets 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
’40-and-up club’: Ageless Hopkins after more belts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimenez shoots 65 to lead Greater Gwinnett field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Solano scores in ninth for 2-1 BVC baseball win over Yuba

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Choi leads rain-delayed RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
NBA’s Silver wants age limit change, no rush on others

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA playoffs looking more wide-open than expected

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Source: Grizzlies’ G Calathes suspended for 20 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

5 features an Amazon phone might offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Judge says American can’t end retiree benefits yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Obituaries

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Home Seller 04/19/14

Summerwood features 8 new homes in Suisun

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.27 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3