In a move that didn’t have a lot of precedent but still wasn’t exactly surprising, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced that producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will produce the 2015 Academy Awards telecast. This marks the third year in a row for the producing team, following the controversially received 2012 ceremony hosted by Seth MacFarlane and the more warmly received recent telecast emceed by Ellen DeGeneres. It marks the first time in fifteen years that the same producer has shepherded the ceremony three consecutive years – Gil Cates handled the reigns from 1997-1999.
The last two Oscar telecasts both received nice boosts in ratings compared to recent years, including those in the all-too-important and highly coveted 18-49 year-old demographic. The past ceremony held also became something of a social media event with DeGeneres’ much talked out impromptu “selfie” that temporary broke down Twitter, a nod that the Oscar ceremony may finally be beginning to breakthrough with the younger audiences that have often eluded Academy programmers. Other highlights from the past Oscar show included Pharrell Williams’ jubilant rendition of his Oscar-nominated song “Happy,” which included audience interplay with nominees Lupita Nyong’o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, and DeGeneres’ pizza party with the stars in the Dolby Theater.
It was shortly after the 2013 telecast that Zadan and Meron were announced they were returning for their second go at Hollywood’s biggest night, so the relatively quick turnaround here isn’t a shocker, either. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Craig and Neil back to produce the Oscars again in 2015,” commented Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, “Their showmanship has elevated the show to new heights and we are excited to keep the momentum going with this creative partnership.” No word yet on whether DeGeneres will be asked back for a second consecutive hosing appearance and her third overall (she emceed in 2007 as well), but she has to be the oddsmakers’ favorite at this point.
Outside of the Academy Awards, Zadan and Meron are one of the most prolific producing partners in the industry with a resume that stretches from the screen to stage to television. Recent credits include the mini-series Bonnie & Clyde with Emile Hirsch, the widely watched NBC live musical The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood, and big screen hits The Bucket List, Hairspray, and the Oscar-winning Chicago. They will next produce a movie version of the classic musical Pippen for The Weinstein Company. The 87th Academy Awards will take place on February 22, 2015.