After last years “almost” disastrous producing by Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences needed a producer or a pair of producers who could bring some stability and taste to this year’s event. Today, they took the first step in bringing some smarts back to the telecast by announcing Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer as producers. Mischer will also serve as the telecast’s technical director.
Academy President Tom Sherak, who said he was “absolutely ecstatic” by the news also knows what he’s getting into this time. Both Cohen and Mischer produced the Academy’s inaugural Governor’s Awards in Nov. of 2009. And, you could argue they are primed for the difficult political maneuvering needed to wrangle big stars and live up to the high expectations placed on the global king of award shows.
Cohen has already won an Oscar as producer along with business partner Dan Jinks for “American Beauty.” He was nominated again in 2009 for “Milk.” His other credits include “Down with Love,” “Big Fish” and the TV series “Pushing Daisies.”
Mischer’s resume as a producer and director include the opening and closing ceremonies of both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial,” the 2004 Democratic Convention and a slew of Super Bowl Halftime shows, Emmy Award shows and Tony Awards telecasts.
The duo have also worked together producing the memorable “Movies Rock” special in 2007.
“I fell in love with the Oscars as an eight-year-old kid, the night my grandmothers let me stay up to watch for the first time,” Cohen said in a statement released by ABC, the show’s broadcast partner. “It is a dream come true for me to now be producing the show with the phenomenal Don Mischer, whom I”ve had an incredible time working with in the past. We hope to create a show that celebrates what people around the world love about the Academy Awards year after year – the excitement, glamour and tradition of Oscar Night itself.”
Mischer remarked,”During my previous collaborations with Bruce, I have come to know him as a passionate, smart and creative producer, and I couldn”t be more thrilled to now be working with him on the Oscars. As a producer and director, I have always been inspired by the live broadcast of major, high-profile events, and when it comes to that, it doesn”t get any bigger than the Academy Awards. The Oscars are truly ‘appointment” television; they”re eagerly anticipated around the world, and they offer a unique opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary artists who take us on a journey every time we step into a movie theater.”
From this pundit’s point of view, Cohen will bring some of the class and sophistication back that Bill Condon and Larry Mark were heralded for in 2009. Mischer is not a technically innovative director, but he’s sure and steady and will make sure the show keeps moving thematically. Depending on who the host is, this duo could be something special.
The 83rd Academy Awards will be broadcast live on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.