Ziskin back for 2nd run with Oscars


Laura Ziskin has been named producer of the 79th Annual Academy Awards, which will air Feb. 25 from Hollywood & Highland's Kodak Theatre.

It will be Ziskin's second stint as the show's producer. She produced the 74th Annual Academy Awards, the first to take place at the Kodak, in 2002. It also will be the second time that she juggled Academy chores while also overseeing an upcoming "Spider-Man" movie. The last time around, she was readying the first "Spider-Man," released May 3, 2002. She's currently in postproduction on "Spider-Man 3," which Sony Pictures will open domestically May 4.

Ziskin's first turn as Oscar's ringmaster earned eight Emmy nominations, including one for Ziskin as producer in the variety, music or comedy special category.

"This is a tough producing job," said Academy president Sid Ganis, "but we've been blessed with terrific producers, including Laura: Her 2002 show was one of the most colorful and fun shows in my memory. I can't tell you how pleased I am and how exciting it is to have her back, and for me to be, this time, in a position to participate with her in the creation of the show. This one is going to be great fun for all of us, viewers especially."

Said Ziskin: "I have wanted to produce the Academy Awards again for a long time. It is a terrific, really fun challenge for a producer ? commingling the thrills of putting on a live show, the creating of an exciting broadcast for the people watching at home and celebrating the extraordinary medium of film."

Beyond "Spider-Man 3," Ziskin's projects in the pipeline include "Me and My Monster," with director McG; "The Crimson Petal and the White," with director Curtis Hanson for Sony, where her production company is based; as well as "The Spellman Files" for Paramount Pictures, an HBO film on publisher Katharine Graham written by Joan Didion.

Ziskin's credits also include exec producer on "As Good as It Gets" and "Pretty Woman." As a film executive, she was the founding president of Fox 2000 in 1994 before heading Laura Ziskin Prods. in 1999.