87TH OSCARS® PRODUCTION TEAM ANNOUNCED

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

87TH OSCARS® PRODUCTION TEAM ANNOUNCED

LOS ANGELES, CA – Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron today announced 13 key members of the production team for the 87th Academy Awards®, which will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015, on ABC.

Director Hamish Hamilton returns to the show for the third time, after receiving an Emmy® nomination for his work on last year’s telecast.  He made his Oscar debut with the 82nd Academy Awards telecast in 2010.  Hamilton has directed many other celebrated live televised events, including the 2014 Super Bowl halftime show featuring Bruno Mars, the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show featuring Beyoncé, the 2013 “MTV Video Music Awards” and the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, for which he also received an Emmy nomination.  He shared a 2011 Peabody Award for the fifth annual “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” and a 2003 Grammy Award® nomination for the musical special “Robbie Williams – Live at the Albert.”

Production designer Derek McLane has been part of both Oscar shows that Zadan and Meron have produced.  He won a 2014 Emmy for his production design of the 86th Academy Awards, and earned a nomination in the same category the previous year.  McLane also has designed sets for numerous acclaimed Broadway and Off-Broadway shows; he has received four Tony Award® nominations and won the award in 2009 for his work on “33 Variations.”  McLane’s designs can currently be seen in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”  His other Broadway credits include “The Heiress,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man,” “Follies,” “Anything Goes,” “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” “Grease” and “I Am My Own Wife.”  McLane’s television credits include “The Sound of Music Live!” which was executive produced by Zadan and Meron.

Choreographer Rob Ashford has worked on the last two Oscar telecasts as well as the 81st Academy Awards show, for which he won an Emmy.  He was recently nominated for a Directors Guild Award for his work on “The Sound of Music Live!”  Ashford has been nominated for eight Tony Awards® and won for Best Choreography in 2002 for “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”  His other Broadway choreography credits include “The Wedding Singer,” “Curtains,” “Cry-Baby,” “Evita” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”  He also has served as choreographer on such feature films as “A Million Ways to Die in the West” and “Cinderella,” due out next year.

Writer, producer and director Greg Berlanti joins the team as head writer for his first Oscars telecast.  Berlanti’s writing credits include the television series “The Flash,” “Arrow,” “Everwood” and “Dawson’s Creek,” and the feature films “Wrath of the Titans” and “Green Lantern.”  Berlanti also has executive produced such series as “The Mysteries of Laura” and “Brothers & Sisters” as well as the miniseries “Political Animals,” for which he received an Emmy nomination.  His directing credits include the 2010 film “Life as We Know It.”

Zadan and Meron have brought in Michael Green, Seth Grahame-Smith and Andrew Kreisberg to complete the writing staff.  Green is a writer and producer whose writing credits include the feature film “Green Lantern” and the television series “Everwood” and “Heroes.”  Grahame-Smith is a writer and producer known for his work on the television series “The Hard Times of RJ Berger” and such films as “Dark Shadows” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”  Kreisberg, a longtime writer and producer, has written episodes of “The Simpsons,” “Boston Legal,” “Fringe,” “Arrow” and “The Flash.”

Music director Stephen Oremus makes his Oscar debut this year.  A music director and Tony Award-winning orchestrator, he has worked on Broadway shows including “Avenue Q,” “Wicked,” “All Shook Up,” “9 to 5,” “The Book of Mormon” and “Kinky Boots.”  The latter two shows, which are still running, earned him 2011 and 2013 Tony Awards for Best Orchestration.  Oremus also served as the orchestra conductor and music director for Rufus Wainwright’s Carnegie Hall and London Palladium tributes to Judy Garland in 2006 and 2007.  He did his first feature film work on 2011’s “Shame,” arranging and producing “New York, New York,” which was sung by actress Carey Mulligan.

Costume designer Julie Weiss returns to the show after working on the 85th and 86th Academy Awards.  Weiss has designed costumes for more than 40 feature films, and received Oscar nominations for her work on “12 Monkeys” and “Frida.”  Her other feature credits include “Steel Magnolias,” “Searching for Bobby Fischer” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” “A Simple Plan,” “American Beauty,” “Auto Focus,” “Bobby,” “Blades of Glory” and “Hitchcock.”  Weiss earned Emmys for her work on the TV movie “The Dollmaker” and the miniseries “A Woman of Independent Means.”  Her Broadway credits include “The Elephant Man,” for which she earned a Tony nomination, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Ann.”  In 2011 she received the Costume Designers Guild Career Achievement in Film and Television Award.

Talent producer Taryn Hurd joins the Oscar telecast team for the second consecutive year.  Hurd has served as talent producer on events including the FOX network’s “New Year’s Eve Live,” the Breeders’ Cup telecast, “Teen Choice 2013” and “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops.”  She also has served as talent producer on the FOX series “So You Think You Can Dance” and ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”  Previously, Hurd amassed numerous credits as talent executive on broadcasts such as “The ESPYS,” the “Billboard Music Awards” and the “Critics’ Choice Awards.”  She also was the talent producer for the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards.

Also rejoining the production team are supervising producer Michael Seligman, co-producer Lee Lodge and lighting designer Robert Dickinson.  Seligman has more than 300 major television events to his credit and has earned 12 Emmy nominations, including 10 for his work on Oscar telecasts.  Seligman’s other producing credits include “The American Giving Awards,” “America Celebrates July 4th at Ford’s Theatre,” “Stand Up to Cancer” and “Return to the Titanic…Live!”

Lodge served as co-producer on last year’s Oscar telecast and screens producer on the previous five.  His credits also include co-executive producer on the “MTV Video Music Awards” in 2012, 2013 and 2014, creative producer on the “CMA Awards” since 2010, and screens producer on the “Billboard Music Awards” since 2011.

Winner of 18 Primetime Emmys, lighting designer Dickinson has worked on 25 Oscar broadcasts, including the 86th Academy Awards earlier this year.  His numerous other credits include the “Kennedy Center Honors,” “Grammy Awards,” “Emmy Awards,” “Tony Awards,” “American Music Awards,” Olympic ceremonies in Atlanta, Salt Lake and Athens, and the television broadcasts “The Sound of Music Live!” and “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”

The 87th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.  The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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87th Oscars Social Media Guide
Follow the Academy, Oscars producers and host Neil Patrick Harris for the latest updates throughout Oscar season.

Host
Neil Patrick Harris: http://twitter.com/ActuallyNPH

Oscars Producers
Neil Meron:  http://twitter.com/neilmeron
Craig Zadan http://twitter.com/craigzadan

Hashtags:
#Oscars

Academy
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ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards—in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners — the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.

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Legendary: Ruby Dee

Photo Credit Via thunderbird37.com

Photo Credit Via thunderbird37.com

Please forgive the lateness of this post, but it has taken me a bit of time to comprehend this tragic loss.  Having met Miss Ruby Dee back in 2007, I can say first hand what a formidable, warm and spirited woman she was.  The way she looked at me and called me sister was one of the greatest moments of my life; and during our conversation, her advice to me to follow my dreams and persevere no matter what, has become my guiding truth.  One does not easily forget a woman like this, nor does one not grieve her loss.  Having just said good-bye to Maya Angelou, we are reminded once again that our legends, our great ones, are passing on and leaving us to pick up the baton; to carry on what they worked so incredibly hard for their entire lives.  Were it not for Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou, Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Louise Beavers, Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen, Juanita Moore, Diahann Carroll and hundreds of others that paved the way, I would not be the woman I am today with my position and success.  So forgive me if I feel this loss perhaps slightly deeper than others.

Ruby Dee, born Ruby Ann Wallace on October 27, 1922 in Cleveland, OH, and raised in Harlem, NY where she graduated from Hunter College, was a civil rights activist, actress, poet, playwright, humanitarian, journalist and breast cancer survivor of more than three decades.  While she had well over 100 film and television (and 34 theatre, including the debut performance of A Raisin in the Sun costarring Sidney Poitier, and that was nominated for four Tony awards) credits to her name, spanning back to 1946, she is probably most well known for The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), her groundbreaking role in A Raisin in the Sun (1961), Roots: The Next Generations (1979),  Do The Right Thing (1989) and American Gangster (2007) for which she was nominated (and  should have won) an Academy Award.  Her many accolades and awards include a Primetime Emmy, AAFC Award, Jury Award, ACE Award, a Grammy, four Image Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award and several lifetime achievement awards, as well as the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors.

Her acting career, like many Black artists of the time, began at the American Negro Theatre where her peers were Harry Belafonte, Hilda Sims and Sidney Poitier.  After her time at ANT, which closed in 1949, Ms. Dee made several appearances on Broadway and at numerous theatre festivals including becoming the first Black Actress to play Kate in The Taming of the Shrew and Cordelia in King Lear at the American Shakespeare Festival.

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Ruby Dee, who took the middle name of her first husband, blues singer Frankie Dee Brown (whom she divorced in 1945), as her stage name, married Ossie Davis in 1948 having met while costarring in the 1946 Broadway play Jeb.  They soon became one of, if not the, most respected and fiercest acting couples not just in the African American community, but in Hollywood (Their infamous saying of “In This Thing Together” still rings true as Ruby Dee will be cremated, and her ashes placed in the same urn as her husbands and sealed forever).

While most knew Miss Dee as the magnificent actress she was, some fail to realize that, besides her outstanding contribution to the arts, she was also a civil rights activist. A member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Ruby made it her life’s work to champion for equal rights. Dee, who with her husband Davis, associated with such influential and significant figures like Malcolm X, Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P Newton, and numerous others, emceed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington, organized a boycott of Christmas shopping, urging Americans to support civil rights groups instead in the wake of the 1963 Birmingham, Ala., church bombing that killed four young black girls; in 1965

Photo Credit Via newsnyork.com

Photo Credit Via newsnyork.com

she and Davis marched for civil rights in Selma, Ala, and in 1999 they were both arrested as they protested the fatal shooting of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo by New York City police officers.  During this time Dee also appeared in such politically charged films as Gone Are the Days and The Incident, which is recognized as helping pave the way for young African-American actors and filmmakers.

Sadly, in 2005, Dee lost her life partner of 56 years, Ossie Davis, but despite her grief, she passionately continued her work in both civil rights and the arts. She developed a one woman show, authored two children’s books and, like many Hollywood personalities, stood firmly against the war in Iraq.

No stranger to recognition and awards, in 2007 Ruby was inducted into the Weschester County Women’s Hall of Fame joining such other honorees as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Nita Lowey, and in 2009, she received an Honorary Degree from Princeton University.  Her powerful 2007 appearance in the film American Gangster, alongside Denzel Washington, saw her receive her first and only Oscar nomination, even though she was only on screen for a total of ten minutes; a testament to her great talent.

Photo Credit Via madamenoire.com

Photo Credit Via madamenoire.com

Ruby Dee has clearly left her legacy, not only through her family (three children: son, blues musician Guy Davis, two daughters, Nora Day and Hasna Muhammad, and seven grandchildren), but through all of the lives she has touched with her work as an artist and humanitarian.  Her humor, wit, beautiful mind, glorious talent and fierce sense of fashion (!!!) will be greatly missed.  They don’t make them like this anymore; she was in a class reserved for a very select few.  And we should consider ourselves lucky we had the opportunity to learn from such a prodigious and marvelously fascinating woman.

 

 

Love

BCM