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The 92nd annual Academy Awards has found its producing team.
Veteran producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain will team to produce the 2020 awards show, Academy president David Rubin revealed Friday. The Feb. 9 event will be the first Oscar-producing gig for Taylor and Allain, who both have extensive film backgrounds.
“The combined producing talents of Lynette and Stephanie will bring dynamism and excitement to the 92nd Oscars show,” said Rubin. “Their vast production experience ranges from groundbreaking independent film to global blockbuster. We look forward to collaborating with them to bring an unforgettable Oscars event to movie fans around the world.”
The pair have an impressive joint filmography between them. Howell Taylor, 40, made her name producing indie standouts such as Half Nelson, Blue Valentine, Big Eyes and Captain Fantastic before last year tackling the studio film A Star Is Born, which proved a blockbuster and earned her a best picture Oscar nomination.
Allain, 60, got her start with Boyz n the Hood, for which John Singleton became the youngest and first black best director Oscar nominee ever. She has produced numerous other indie films, including Hustle & Flow (she sold her house to finance it), Beyond the Lights and Black Snake Moan, plus the Netflix series Dear White People. Allain also served as senior vp production at Columbia, president of Jim Henson Pictures and director of the LA Film Festival from 2011-2016.
Howell Taylor founded the production company 51 Entertainment (Unicorn Store), while Allain’s company, Homegrown Pictures — which she has described as “a company of all-black females pushing out content that humanizes people of color, and other underrepresented folks” — is behind Juanita, Burning Sands and Life Size 2.
In recent years, both were unsuccessful candidates for the Academy’s board of governors. In 2016, Allain was appointed by the board to serve on its Membership and Administration Committee, which was just then embarking on a diversity push that has resulted in a huge wave of new members who are female and/or people of color.
“We have both watched the Oscars for as long as we can remember, and to be given the opportunity to produce the show is a dream,” Howell Taylor and Allain said in a joint statement. “It’s an honor and a thrill to join forces to deliver an entertaining show that celebrates the artistry of this year’s best films.”
“How thrilling to have both Lynette and Stephanie leading our Oscars production team,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in her own statement. “I have every confidence that they will deliver a high-caliber performance.”
ABC’s Oscars telecast earlier this year, which was produced by Glenn Weiss and Donna Gigliotti, averaged 29.6 million viewers, a 11.5 percent gain from 2018’s kudocast. It was the first Oscars ceremony in 30 years to not have a host.
The 2019 telecast producers shared a background in TV and film: Weiss’ career is centered in television and live events, while Gigliotti is a prolific film producer. In comparison, Howell Taylor and Allain are both established in the film space, and Allain is known for championing diverse talent, launching the careers of filmmakers such as Singleton, Robert Rodriguez and Justin Simien.
The Academy has not yet announced whether it plans to bring back a host for the 2020 ceremony or go hostless again. The 2019 telecast was the most-watched entertainment telecast on TV since the 2017 Oscars and the highest-rated non-sports program since the post-Super Bowl This Is Us installment in 2018.
The 92nd annual Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and broadcast live on ABC.
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