Academy picks Oscar telecast producers

Bill Mechanic, Adam Shankman take reins of 82nd Oscars

Producer Bill Mechanic and director-producer Adam Shankman have been tapped to oversee the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

Although Mechanic and Shankman have never worked together, their pairing suggests that the Academy hopes to continue in the direction that producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon paved with the most recent Oscar telecast, which shook up old traditions and resulted in a ratings uptick.

Although Mark and Condon opted not to return for a second stint because of other commitments, the Academy again has turned to a pair of producers, neither of whom has produced the broadcast.

As a longtime Hollywood executive-turned-producer, Mechanic is on a first-name basis with most of Hollywood's A-list players, a plus when assembling an Oscar broadcast.

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Shankman, a former dancer (who once appeared on the Oscars), is a choreographer-turned-director who provides the creative background that could bring some razzle-dazzle to the mix.

As the former chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment, Mechanic also is a former colleague of Academy president Tom Sherak, another former Fox executive.

Sherak announced the team Tuesday, saying, "I've known Bill for many years, so it's like putting Oscar in the care of a dear friend. Bill has a tremendous love and respect of film and will draw from his vast experience as a producer, a studio executive and a film historian to help make this year's Oscar telecast a memorable one. And Adam's experience in producing, directing and especially choreography will be a huge asset to the production."

The new team's first job will be selecting a host.

Mechanic heads his own independent production company, Pandemonium, whose feature "Coraline" is in the hunt for the animated feature Oscar.

As a Fox exec, he had a hand in such films as "Titanic," "Braveheart" and "Cast Away."

Shankman's directorial credits include "The Wedding Planner," "Hairspray" and "Bedtime Stories." Partnered with his sister Jennifer Gibgot in Offspring Entertainment, he is producing such 2010 releases as "The Last Song," "Going the Distance" and "Step Up 3D." He also has been moonlighting as a guest judge on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance."

The next Oscar telecast will be broadcast March 7 on ABC from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland.
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