Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes, two of the comedic actresses tasked with making the Academy Awards relevant once again, are painfully aware that the bar has been set very low.
Since 2018, there has only been one host of the Academy Awards, much alone three hosts. Furthermore, last year’s programme had ratings that set a new low.
As a result, the hosts of the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday have said that their objectives for the evening are very straightforward: keep things moving and make it amusing.
“It’s going to be a night of celebration,” Sykes said in an interview with The New York Times, which she and Hall conducted from inside the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.
Following a general press conference earlier in the day, Hall and Sykes talked with The Times via video link on Thursday afternoon. Amy Schumer, the show’s third co-host, had been set to participate in the interview and press conference, but she decided not to go through with it. When asked about Covid at the press conference, academy officials simply said, citing Schumer: “Don’t worry, it’s not Covid.” They then said to The New York Times that Schumer had not been feeling well and had been sleeping in preparation for the rehearsals.
The show’s producers, Will Packer and Shayla Cowan, as well as the rest of the cast and crew, spoke during a press conference to describe what fans may expect to see on Sunday. Since last year, the best picture award will be presented last; the show will commemorate the 50th anniversary of “The Godfather” and the 60th anniversary of James Bond; cast members from the film “Encanto” will perform “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”; and some awards will be presented to members of the audience.
“You should not think that we have declared the winner of the best picture award at this time,” Packer cautioned further. “Certainly, we want that to be one of a few surprising shocks,” said the team.
During the show’s opening segment, Hall and Sykes said that all three hosts would be onstage together, but that at other moments in the programme, they would separate.
They also said that the producers were working on something that would address the conflict in Ukraine. So, when asked how they planned to outdo Glenn Close’s performance of “Da Butt” at last year’s Oscars, Sykes came up with a brilliant solution: “We’re going to attempt to get Judi Dench to do the Worm.”