Oscar Producers Craig Zadan & Neil Meron Hint At Depature, So What Will It Mean For The Entertainment Industry's Biggest Night?
Could there be an Oscars overhaul in the works? Ceremony exec producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have spearheaded the biggest night in entertainment for the past three years, are hinting on social media that this year's Academy Awards was their last. The 2015 Oscars were hosted by Neil Patrick Harris (a host with the most who unfortunately fell flat) and had ratings down 16 percent from last year, a six-year low for the annual star-studded extravaganza. But if Zadan and Meron depart the show, what will this mean for the Academy Awards as we know it?
"Hoping that whoever produces the #Oscars next year will retain our innovations: #TeamOscar program & reading all 24 nom on Oscar nom morning," Zadan tweeted Saturday night, but it hasn't been the first of his hints that he and Meron are folding up their producers' chairs at the Dolby Theater. On March 1, Zadan tweeted a thank you to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and ABC for supporting their efforts during the past three ceremonies, as well as a separate thank-you tweet to the hosts under the producers' helm: Harris, Ellen DeGeneres (who gave us the famous Oscars selfie), and Seth MacFarlane (who gave us the "We Saw Your Boobs" trainwreck). Neither Zadan or Meron have confirmed a passing of the torch to another producer, and the Academy hasn't issued a comment yet.
Zadan and Meron are the first producers to have helmed three consecutive Oscars since Gil Cates did so from 1990 to 1995. Under their Storyline Entertainment banner, the producing duo is known for successfully bringing musical theater to the screen: the smash hit big-screen musicals Chicago and Hairspray, Peter Pan Live! and The Sound of Music Live! on NBC, and the NBC musical drama series Smash.
That influence has definitely been seen and noted during the Academy Awards ceremonies they've produced, which have been chock full of musical numbers, glamour, and pageantry. Zadan and Meron brought a certain amount of magic to the Oscars these past three years and I have to wonder if they don't return, what will happen?
Here's how I think Hollywood's biggest night will be affected by their departure — and what should be improved by the next producer who takes on the Oscars.
Less Musical Numbers
Zadan and Meron injected the Oscars with a little bit too much singing, but I can understand why — musicals are their thing, after all — but I can see future producers cutting back on it next year. Did we really need Jennifer Hudson singing a song from Smash after the "In Memoriam" this year? I hope I never hear MacFarlane's "We Saw Your Boobs" ever again and I didn't need to see Lady Gaga's salute to the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music, but boy was it a treat. Perhaps it's time to go back to the good ol' days of Billy Crystal's wacky movie spoof Oscar-openers.
There Must Be a Good Host Out There Somewhere
Oscar hosting is so hit or miss that no one person can really be blamed for someone bombing. Before this year's Oscars, NPH was considered a slam dunk of a host who could turn a community board meeting into the greatest party ever, but I guess even superheroes like him have their off nights. But out of Zadan and Meron's hosts, only DeGeneres really knocked it out of the park.
That doesn't mean comedians and talk show hosts are sure bet either. I think what I'm trying to say here is that there must be a good host out there somewhere. Whoever takes on the Oscars next needs to try to find him or her.
NPH got a lot of flack for his terrible puns and boring lockbox magic trick, but much of that criticism focused on the writing and the writers — The Flash's Greg Berlanti served as head writer to the show. Yup, a man known for writing drama series. Perhaps next year, the new producers should hire comedians or folks who have professional comedy writing experience to script what entertains us throughout the ceremony.
If the audience has to sit through four hours of scripted banter, at least let it be legitimately funny.
More Great Moments
A lot of viral moments you just can't script — John Travolta mangling Idina Menzel's name as "Adele Dazeem" — but there are some you can, such as DeGeneres' Oscar selfie. The Academy Awards needs more moments like those, ones we talk about the next day. This year's ceremony, unfortunately, seemed to fade as soon as it ended, despite some murmurs that Lady Gaga's Sound of Music performance proves she's a legit superstar.
At the end of the day, the Oscars honors the film industry in a room filled with the greatest entertainers in Hollywood. There's really no reason for the ceremony to ever be boring.
Images: Giphy (4)