*Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has announced that Emmy-winning producer David Hill and Oscar-nominated producer-director Reginald Hudlin will produce the 88th Academy Awards, which will air live on ABC February 28, 2016.
Hudlin, best known for directing “House Party” and “Boomerang,” also produced Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and served as president of entertainment for BET from 2005 to 2008. Hill worked for Fox as an executive in many capacities for the last 25 years before stepping down earlier this year to start his own production company, according to the Academy’s website.
“What a great and exciting honor! The quest is to honor the year in film, honor the art, and above all, make it fun,” said Hill.
“We’re delighted to have this talented team on board,” said Boone Isaacs. “David is a true innovator with a dynamic personality. His vast experience as a live events producer, coupled with Reggie’s energy, creativity and talent as a filmmaker, is sure to make this year’s Oscar telecast a memorable one.”
Hudlin and Hill replace Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who produced the last three ceremonies with uneven success. Despite the Academy President being a Black woman, much of the criticism about the telecast under Meron and Zedan has been how uncomfortably white-washed it is. The event is pretty much a celebration of White people celebrating White people, and they don’t even have to speak to win.
Sure, Lupita Nyong’o won but not because of her talent (Academy voters admitted they didn’t even watch the movie). She won because acknowledging Black actors who play slaves, gangsters or engage in buffoonery makes for attractive Oscar PR, and rewarding them for such roles makes the Academy appear “progressive.”
Will the addition of Hudlin add a bit of color to future Oscar telecasts? Will viewers see an increase in diverse nominees as Hollywood starts to reflect the real world through diverse casting? Academy CEO Dawn Husdon is hopeful Reggie and David will bring a “fresh perspective.”
“We’re excited to work with David and Reggie,” said Dawn. “With their enthusiasm and breadth of experience, they will bring a fresh perspective to the Oscar show.”