Once the dust starts to settle after the excitement of the Golden Globes, I personally don't waste any time in looking ahead and preparing for the excitement that is the announcement of the Oscar nominees. It is also around this time that I can finally start work on my Leonardo DiCaprio Oscar shrine without looking like a total weirdo. Earlier this week, it was revealed that actor John Krasinski, directors Ang Lee and Guillermo del Toro, and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs would be delivering the 2016 Oscar nominees on Thursday, Jan. 14. But how were they chosen?
These names might seem like they are totally random, but it turns out that every year, the actors and/or directors chosen to present the nominees all share a connection to the Academy and have a rich history in film. So, unfortunately, unless you are on Hollywood's A-List, you will probably never know the thrill of announcing the Oscar nominees during the live telecast.
This year, I was a little surprised to see Krasinski named as a presenter until I realized that he has a pretty big film coming out very soon — 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, which premieres on Friday — and is on the eve of premiering his self-directed film The Hollars at Sundance later this month. So it makes sense that the Academy would bring on faces who are creating excitement in the film world, and who else is more lovable than Jim Halpert?
For their less surprising picks, Ang Lee is a two-time Oscar winner for Best Director (Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi) and Guillermo del Toro has grabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Pan's Labyrinth, while just releasing Crimson's Peak. Lee's upcoming Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is in post-production, and will star Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, and Vin Diesel, while del Toro also has a couple of movies in the works.
In January 2015, Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, announced that the live announcement would now include the nominations in all 24 Oscar categories, as opposed to the 12 categories of earlier years. Of the decision they said,
Each of the three years we’ve produced the show, we have attempted to refresh elements of the process and the telecast. This year, we’re honored to start a new tradition that celebrates the contributions of all the nominees by announcing all 24 categories. We’re thrilled that a distinguished actor and two world-class film directors are part of the initial launch.
That year, Chris Pine, J.J. Abrams, and Alfonso Cuarón were chosen to present the nominations alongside Boone Isaacs, who, luckily as president, gets invited to be there every year. So, why did they make the lucky cut? Well, they're just really successful in the film world. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said of their choice, "We’re thrilled to have such exceptional talents present the nominations in a completely new format that furthers our mission and honors all of the artists who make movies.”
In 2012, up-and-coming Jennifer Lawrence was fresh off her first Academy Award nomination for Winter's Bone when she was asked to present the nominees with then Academy president Tom Sherak. In 2013, Emma Stone and Seth McFarlene, that year's host, were chosen and marked "the first time since 1972 that an Oscar show host has participated in the nominations announcement."
So, as history shows, the Academy chooses people who are making an indelible mark in film's history, and those who show promise at being the biggest stars in the industry's future. Plus, they need some talented people who can make reading a list of names exciting very early in the morning.