Will Packer gets real about taking on Oscars: ‘It’s a different load to shoulder’

The powerhouse producer, who helms the ceremony this year for the first time, also reveals what fans can expect from his “secret weapon,” Regina Hall

As the ceremony’s producer, Will Packer is making history at this year’s Academy Awards. 

This time around, viewers can expect to be entertained throughout the show, thanks to the selection of three fantastic, female comedians leading the way —Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, and Regina Hall — all likely to deliver some surprises during the live show.

“I always wanted multiple hosts. I always knew this is a different job now than it’s been in the past. It’s a different load to shoulder. It’s a different level of scrutiny, frankly. And so I knew that I wanted a multiplicity of hosts with different skill sets to come in and take on this task,” Packer explained. 

Will Packer speaks on stage at the “Ride Along with Will Packer” panel on Nov. 7, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Fast Company)

“So the fact that I’ve got three women that are comedians with very different styles; that’s perfect. That’s exactly what I want,” he said. “Also, the fact that you’ve got three fearless women doing it means that who knows what’s going to happen? There’s going to be some unexpected things.”

Packer continued, “This is live television. I always feel like, what’s the point of being live if you can’t have some spontaneity? If you can’t do some things that are unexpected, what’s the point of watching a live show?”

Aside from the three hosts, including his “secret weapon” Hall, Packer also had to consider what he could bring to the event amidst the ongoing call for change in the industry.

As a Black man who has been navigating Tinseltown for years, he recognizes the existing problems in terms of representation and intends to be part of the solution. 

(L-R, Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer)

“I can’t control the awards and I can’t control who gets nominated, but I can control the presentation of the awards. The presentation and the optics and the imagery are very important.”

“We’ve got trophy presenters from an HBCU for the first time in Oscars history, and I love that. It’s going to look very different on that stage, and that’s a good thing because optics and imagery matter,” Packer explained.

“There’s a lot more to be done when you start at such a deficit; when you’re so far behind. You got to understand that even when you do a lot, it doesn’t mean that you’re in a good place. It means that there’s a lot more to be done.”

He added, “So that’s kind of where we are, but we’re in the midst of it, and I’m optimistic about the direction that the Academy as a whole and our industry is heading.”

The 94th Annual Oscars will air on ABC on Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. PDT

For more with Will Packer and a sneak peek of the Oscars, check out the latest episode of Acting Up

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The post Will Packer gets real about taking on Oscars: ‘It’s a different load to shoulder’ appeared first on TheGrio.

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