Oscars to celebrate ‘Godfather’, ‘Bond’ – and ‘Bruno’

James Bond wasn’t nominated for an Oscar this year, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be part of the ceremony.

It’s the 60th anniversary of the first 007 movie, after all, and the 50th anniversary of “The Godfather,” and those landmarks won’t go uncelebrated on Sunday at the 94th Academy Awards.

“We have surprises on this. Wink, wink,” Will Packer, who produces the show, said Thursday.

This is all part of the main theme of the year: “Cinephiles, unite”.

“Movies are the one thing that really unites so many of us as a global community,” Packer said. “Movies make you feel something, they inspire you, they make you yearn.”

Packer was joined by hosts Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes, director Glenn Weiss, co-producer Shayla Cowan, Oscar production designer David Korins and music director Adam Blackstone to preview the ceremony, which is days away.

Amy Schumer, who is the third host of the evening, was not present but had a message that her colleagues delivered: “Don’t worry, it’s not COVID.”

They promised a crowd-pleasing night of escapism and celebration, including a rendition of the “Encanto” hit song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” Latin music powerhouses Luis Fonsi and Becky G will join the film’s cast members for a performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit, which topped the Billboard charts, the academy has announced.

Despite the success of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” he won’t be competing for an Oscar on Sunday. The Spanish-language song “Dos Oruguitas” is nominated for Best Original Song.

And while there may not be a rehearsal of Glenn Close’s “Da Butt” planned, Sykes laughed as he said they had talked about getting Dame Judi Dench to “do the worm.”

The show is aiming to recover from last year’s poor ratings and has made significant strides to keep the runtime to three hours, including the controversial decision to hand out eight awards before the show and to edit it in the live broadcast.

“We’re going to make sure everyone has their moment,” Packer said. “It’s about celebrating the most talented people and what they do.”

They will also return to the tradition of ending the night with the best picture category after last year’s experience closing out the best actor. And, Packer said, while they’ve announced an army of high-profile presenters, from Lady Gaga to Bill Murray, they haven’t necessarily revealed who will present the Best Picture award yet.

As for the hosts, Sykes said they want “everyone to have a good time” but are “not going to throw anybody out…none of us are mean.”

The three women will open the show together but also get some solo moments to shine.

Packer said they would respectfully acknowledge the state of the world, including the pandemic and war, but wanted the evening to be first and foremost “a celebration, a release, an escape for people who really need it. “.

Behind the scenes, the pandemic is still top of mind for those involved, particularly after reports that some contracted COVID-19 after attending the BAFTAs in London. The Academy asks each participant to submit two negative PCR tests before the show. Spectators must also be vaccinated.

“We want to make sure everyone is safe coming to the show,” said Packer, who declined to say if he knows of any individual nominees who have COVID-19. “We have a lot of protocols in place… We want to put on a show that protects everyone.”

The Oscars will air live Sunday on ABC starting at 8 p.m. EDT.

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