Full steam ahead for Oscar telecast

Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:18pm EST
 
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By Gregg Kilday and Paul J. Gough

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - With the threat of picketing writers having passed, Oscar organizers on Thursday unveiled presenters and performers for their upcoming telecast.

Host Jon Stewart and his writing team are expected to arrive in Hollywood on Saturday for some intensive Oscar prep before the February 24 ceremony. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) also has engaged veteran Oscar scribes Hal Kanter, Buz Kohan, Jon Macks and Bruce Vilanch.

"We are now full-steam ahead," AMPAS president Sid Ganis said Thursday at a news conference at Academy headquarters in Beverly Hills. "The writers are writing furiously or furiously writing," he added.

Producer Gil Cates said no writing was done during the three-month strike, which ended Tuesday. "We are behind, but we will catch up," he said. "Instead of writing eight hours a day, they are writing 12-13 hours a day."

Normally, the Academy rations out the Oscar show's star power, three or four names at a time. But this year, while the strike was taking place, Cates quietly set about booking the show, with the stars' participation contingent on whether a picket line would be in place.

With the strike over, the Academy released a nearly complete list of presenters. Last year's acting winners -- Forest Whitaker, Helen Mirren, Alan Arkin and Jennifer Hudson -- have agreed to hand out trophies in their respective categories.

The presenter lineup also includes, in alphabetical order, Amy Adams, Jessica Alba, Cate Blanchett, Josh Brolin, Steve Carell, George Clooney, Penelope Cruz, Miley Cyrus, Patrick Dempsey, Cameron Diaz, Colin Farrell, Harrison Ford, Jennifer Garner, Tom Hanks, Anne Hathaway, Katherine Heigl, Jonah Hill, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Nicole Kidman, James McAvoy, Queen Latifah, Seth Rogen, Martin Scorsese, Hilary Swank, John Travolta, Denzel Washington and Renee Zellweger.

Adams will perform "Happy Working Song," one of the three tunes nominated from "Enchanted." She will be joined by Kristin Chenoweth and Marlon Saunders, handling "That's How You Know," and Jon McLaughlin, performing "So Close."   Continued...

 
<p>An Oscar statuette is shown at the "Meet the Oscars" display in Hollywood, California, February 13, 2008. The Oscars will be given out February 24. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>