Oscars Creative Team Reveals Ceremony Theme and How Last Year’s Slap Will Be Addressed: ‘We’re Going to Acknowledge It and Move On’

At a Wednesday press conference about what audiences can expect from Sunday’s Oscars telecast, the creative team behind the 95th Academy Awards, including executive producer and showrunner Glenn Weiss, confirmed Lady Gaga will not be performing her Oscar-nominated song from “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Hold my Hand.”

The Will Smith factor was also addressed by the creative team, which included executive producer and showrunner Ricky Kirshner, musical director Rickey Minor, writers Dave Boone, Nefetari Spencer and Agathe Panaretos and producer Sarah Levine Hall.

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Traditionally, the previous year’s best actor winner returns to present the best actress award, but Smith, who resigned from the Academy following his slapping of host Chris Rock is banned from attending for ten years. Executive producer Molly McNearney said, “We’re going to acknowledge it, and then we’re gonna move on.” She added, “We don’t want to make this year about last year. It’s certainly something we can and will address in a comedic fashion.”

Kirshner, a new addition to the team, stressed, this was a new show that was going to differ from what regular viewers are used to. “There’s no more ‘This is what we used to do.’ We’ve rethought the show and we’ve got presenters that make sense for the categories.”

The show will encompass many themes. Bill Kramer, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed to Variety last year that all categories will be included in the live telecast, and that will be evident during the show. Kirshner said this year’s show is about “honoring the crafts and what it takes to make a movie.” He added, “Most people see just the actors in front of the camera, but as you know, there are hundreds of people that make movies and a lot of people across the country don’t know what it takes, but we’re going to show that.”

In terms of what audiences can expect from the musical aspect, Minor who last served as the show’s music director in 2020 said, “As a team, we talk about not only the presentation of the music but the diverse music that’s in all of these beautiful films and the great writers.”

The orchestra will be on stage and featured throughout the show.

Aside from celebrating Hollywood film music and its composers, Minor reiterated the ceremony would delve into the 95th anniversary of the awards. “It’s a treasure trove. We have a lot of material to choose from,” he teased.

Weiss took a moment to talk to the production of the show. He said, “We’ve added surround sound and you’re going to find an experience that is going to be adaptable, immersive and taking on the flavor of the winners and the movies. It’s going to be a really visually stunning experience.”

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