(AFP) Award-winning musical producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, whose film hits include “Chicago” and “Footloose,” will produce next year’s Oscars awards show, organizers said Thursday.
The pair, who have also won Tony and Emmy awards and Grammy nominations for Broadway and television work including the TV series “Smash,” were named to put on the February 24 show, the climax of Hollywood’s annual awards season.
“Craig and Neil are forward thinkers who bring a unique perspective to the Oscar show,” said Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Hawk Koch.
“Their enormous collective talent, coupled with their love of film, serves our show perfectly,” he added. A presenter for the star-studded red carpet extravaganza has yet to be named.
The producer pair added: “We hope to utilize our experience in producing features, TV and theater to bring something fresh and special to this incredible awards show,” according to an Academy statement.
The Academy will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the debacle surrounding the 2012 show, when the initially planned producer, US filmmaker Brett Ratner, and presenter Eddie Murphy resigned over a gay slur row.
Veteran Oscars presenter Billy Crystal stepped in at the last minute and was widely praised for his performance — especially after 2011 hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco, aimed at drawing a younger audience, were widely criticized.
Zadan and Meron were executive producers of the 2002 Best Picture winner “Chicago,” which won six Oscars. Their credits also include “Footloose” (2011) and “Hairspray.” Zadan also produced the original “Footloose” (1984).
On TV, their work includes “Smash,” “A Raisin in the Sun” and the upcoming “Steel Magnolias,” while they produced award-winning Broadway revivals of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “Promises, Promises.”
Their work has amassed 73 Emmy nominations, 12 Tony nominations and seven Grammy nominations.