'Dreamgirls' duo producing Oscars telecast

First-time duties for Laurence Mark, Bill Condon

The "Dreamgirls" team of producer Laurence Mark and writer-director Bill Condon have been tapped to produce the 81st Annual Academy Awards telecast. Mark will serve as producer with Condon on board as exec producer; it's the first time either has produced the Oscar show.

Announcing their selection Wednesday, Academy president Sid Ganis said, "Larry and Bill are fresh thinkers who will bring a unique perspective to the Oscar show. That fact, joined with their enormous collective talent and enthusiasm, will serve the 81st awards proceedings perfectly."

As the screenwriter behind "Chicago," Condon devised a way to adapt that Broadway musical to the screen by locating the musical numbers in the minds of the characters.

And together Mark and Condon persuaded producer David Geffen to allow them to take on the film version of "Dreamgirls," the 1981 musical. That film went on to earn eight Oscar nominations, scoring two wins, including the best supporting actress Academy Award that went to Jennifer Hudson.

"What a thrill to produce the Oscar show," Mark said. "I'm excited about this opportunity and look forward to the challenge of a live television show that celebrates the very best in film."

"The Oscars are the ultimate recognition of excellent work in movies, and I'm so pleased to be part of putting the show together," Condon said.

Mark is in postproduction on "Julie and Julia," starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams and written and directed by Nora Ephron for release next year. His other credits include "I, Robot," "The Lookout," "Finding Forrester" and "Jerry Maguire," for which he received a best picture Oscar nom. He also served as executive producer on "As Good As It Gets" and "Working Girl."

Condon is writing a film about Richard Pryor for The Weinstein Co., which he will direct. He also wrote and directed "Kinsey," as well as "Gods and Monsters," for which he won the Academy Award for adapted screenplay.

The 81st Academy Awards will be telecast live by the ABC on Feb. 22.
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