Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Not Standing on Ceremony Oscar's Theme: Togetherness and the Big Screen Experience

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Not Standing on Ceremony Oscar's Theme: Togetherness and the Big Screen Experience

Article excerpt

If all goes as planned, tonight's Oscar telecast will be a kinder, gentler ceremony.

The theme - at a time when more people seem to be tapping into the Internet by themselves and spending more time commuting in their cars alone - will be "the experience of going to the movies."

"We're celebrating the togetherness aspect of it all," said Gil Cates, producing his seventh Academy Awards. "It's a gentler theme then we've done before. "The thing that's kind of wonderful about movies is that you watch them with other people. The only other areas where you do that, when you think about it, are religion and sports." The movie theater, he says, is "a wonderful place where you come together to laugh, to cry." The theme will not override the ceremony. In other words, popcorn will not be dispersed to the crowd at the Shrine Auditorium. Just imagine the butter oozing on those Armani tuxes and Bob Mackie gowns, on Hollywood's annual night of splendor. Rather, Cates said, it will be a subtle theme strung throughout the evening with film clips and speeches. On the podium will be Billy Crystal, taking his fifth turn as Oscar ringmaster. While Crystal was in preparations, he had little time to talk with the press, which panned his last appearance in 1993. Remember Crystal riding in on a giant Academy Award that was pulled, ox-like, by actor Jack Palance? It didn't go over too well. His three previous years at the helm, however, were widely applauded. Crystal did have time to issue one statement, making reference to MTV's animated duo who will be Oscar presenters. "We go way back. It means a lot to me to be working with Beavis and Butt-head. I've known them since they were pencil drawings." Real-life presenters include Mel Gibson, Nicolas Cage, Chris O'Donnell, Jodie Foster, Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Spacey, Michael Douglas and Helen Hunt. …

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