Academy Award show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (previously producers on Hollywood musicals like “Chicago,” “Hairspray,” and the recent Broadway revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”) have announced that they have hired Don Mischer to direct the 85th Annual Oscars telecast.
Mischer is, like the Brian Grazer emergency appointment last year, a safe choice. Obviously last year’s Brett Ratner debacle has sent the Academy reeling back into their little hole. Unlike Ratner, the Internet is unlikely to get up in arms about Mischer’s hiring, unless the Oscar bloggers can remind enough people that Mischer was previously behind the 2011 disaster telecast (yeah, the James Franco one). More likely though, most people will collectively say “who?” and promptly forget about the Oscars again until they announce a host. Because indifference is obviously the dominant reaction you want when you’re trying to raise expectations for your show.
Given Mischer’s track record (the 2011 Oscars, several Kennedy Center Honors, several Super Bowl halftime shows, Obama’s inaugural celebration, the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics), we can probably expect them to go for the song-and-dance routine again. We can at least hope he learned some lessons from the Anne Hathaway/Franco fiasco and will find a host (or hosts) that are actually up to the task. I would expect we’ll hear the usual rumors about Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Martin, etc., and you can bet the “Les Mis” backers are thrilled that they’re probably going to receive some extra love, no matter how the film plays out in the end.
My personal hope for the Oscars now that Mischer’s been announced as director? We somehow get an unexpected live moment a la CNN broadcasting Mischer’s anger toward some unruly balloons at the 2004 Democratic National Convention (remember that?).
Speaking of songs, a quick note that the Academy has also once again changed their rules regarding the Best Original Song category, following up on last year’s embarrassing two-nominee field. The voters for that category will now be required to have exactly five nominees, just like pretty much everyone else. And lo, Katy Perry rejoiced.