2ND UPDATE: It’s now official! See AMPAS news release below.
EXCLUSIVE: This is an unexpected combination, one that surely will have Hollywood scratching its collective head. But I consider it a good choice that bodes well for AMPAS new president Tom Sherak. Both Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic are experienced movie people, and Shankman has the added benefit of current TV experience. They were chosen by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences board of directors after the institution first asked last year’s Oscar producers, Larry Mark and Bill Condon, to repeat after a dramatic ratings rise for the often maligned ABC telecast. But both men were busy with new projects. (Prior to 2009, its viewership had been sinking.) The newly named producing duo will have final say over the Oscar host. As I’ve previously reported, AMPAS would like Hugh Jackman to repeat, but the actor’s reps aren’t feeling it. There’s also a push for board of governors’ member Tom Hanks to step up and step out onto the Kodak Theatre for the most important night in Hollywood March 7th.
Adam Shankman is the multitalented film director, producer, dancer, actor and choreographer. He has been a judge on the Fox TV program So You Think You Can Dance since Season 3. He began his professional career in musical theatre, and was a dancer in music videos for Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson. Shankman also choreographed one of the Spice Girls’ tours. He has directed several feature-length films, including A Walk to Remember, Bringing Down The House, and Hairspray.
Bill Mechanic was chairman and chief executive officer of Twentieth Century Fox Filmed Entertainment from 1994 to 2000. He oversaw all operations of the studio including worldwide feature film production, marketing and distribution activities; as well as all worldwide operations for Fox Video, Fox Interactive, Licensing and Merchandising, and Fox Music. Under Mr. Mechanic’s tenure, Twentieth Century Fox was the number one studio in worldwide box-office gross in 1998. That same year, Fox Music produced five of the top ten best-selling soundtracks. Also during his tenure, Fox produced the No. 1 grossing movie worldwide for three consecutive years; Die Hard with a Vengeance, Independence Day, and Titanic; shared the Best Picture Academy Award twice, for Braveheart and Titanic; won the Best Actress Oscar for Boys Don’t Cry (Hilary Swank); and earned 42 Oscar nominations in total. Currently, he is producing movies through his independent production company, Pandemonium. The Coraline producer recently gave the keynote speech at the annual Independent Film & Television Alliance Production Conference.
Beverly Hills, CA — Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman will produce the 82nd Academy Awards® telecast, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced today. This will be the first major Oscar show involvement for both men.
“I couldn’t be happier to have this talented team on board,” said Sherak. “I’ve known Bill for many years so it’s like putting Oscar in the care of a dear friend. Bill has a tremendous love and respect of film and will draw from his vast experience as a producer, a studio executive and a film historian to help make this year’s Oscar telecast a memorable one. And Adam’s experience in producing, directing and especially choreography will be a huge asset to the production.”
“I’m thrilled to be producing the Oscars with Adam,” said Mechanic. “I think Adam has the perfect background and spirit to make the show both unique and fun to watch. Together we will build upon the best traditions from the great shows of the past while helping pave the way to the future.”
“The last time I was on the show was as a dancer, and to come back as a producer is such an unbelievable honor,” said Shankman. “I look forward to collaborating with Bill to celebrate the world’s collective love of movies and provide a fun escape from the difficult times we’re living in. Simply put, there is no show like the Oscars and I am thrilled to be a part of our industry’s most treasured tradition.”
Mechanic is the chairman and CEO of Pandemonium Films and the former chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. While at Fox, the studio released titles including “True Lies” (1994), “Braveheart” (1995), “Titanic” (1997), “The Full Monty” (1997), “There’s Something About Mary” (1998), “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999) and “Cast Away” (2000) among many others. Prior to Fox, he served in executive positions at the Walt Disney Company and Paramount. Mechanic’s producer credits include this year’s animated feature “Coraline” and the thriller “Dark Water” (2005).
Shankman’s directorial credits include “Bedtime Stories” (2008), “Hairspray” (2007), “A Walk To Remember” (2002) and “The Wedding Planner” (2001). His upcoming projects include “Rock of Ages,” “Sinbad,” “Bob: The Musical” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” In addition to directing, Shankman, along with his sister, Jennifer Gibgot, produce films through their shingle, Offspring Entertainment. Together they are currently producing “The Last Song,” “Going The Distance” and “Step Up 3D,” all set for 2010 release.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.