With just 10 days until The Oscars and a fourth slate of presenters announced just today it’s about time we start thinking about who will present the biggest award of the night, Best Picture. Lots of familiar names have been anointed this task and some repeatedly. Jack Nicholson has made the announcement eight times. Sometimes solo, sometimes with someone else and twice he did it two years in a row. Harrison Ford is also a go-to person for the Academy. Sometimes they like to try to tip their hand at what they think is going to win Best Picture and have someone loosely connected with the film present it like when Kirk and Michael Douglas presented the award to Chicago (starring Michael Douglas’s wife Catherine Zeta Jones, who won an Oscar that night). Hell, they let Jack Nicholson present (with Diane Keaton) the Oscar to The Departed the year it won.
But this is a unique year and there are many ways this could fall and I think Oscar producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill know they have an important decision to make. The team has very deliberately stacked the deck of presenters that are people of color to help offset the entirely white slate of acting nominees, which could mean that someone like just-announced presenter Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman is their choice. Amazingly, he’s never been chosen for that task. The announcement of Oscar-winner Louis Gossett Jr. is a most interesting one. We could see the first woman to present Best Picture solo since Barbra Streisand did way back in 1991. No really; it’s been 25 years since a woman has announced the Best Picture winner without a male co-hort. In what was early in the season touted as yet another ‘Year of the Woman’ that deflated quickly, this could be their choice. Previous Best Actress winners Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon or Cate Blanchett could be on deck for that.
But, the Academy has a chance to kill three birds with one stone: Whoopi Goldberg. A previous Oscar host and Oscar winner, Goldberg would not only satisfy both of the parameters above but would be the first African-American woman ever to present Best Picture alone. (First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, above, shared the duties with Jack Nicholson in 2013 and even got to open the envelope and announce Argo as the winner.) But in choosing Goldberg, who has been very outspoken about the lack of diversity, the Academy finds a way to better position themselves for the future. With the recent changes in Academy membership announced by the president of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the focus of the night is going to be on this controversy. Certainly it will be addressed and dressed down by host Chris Rock, Isaacs will no doubt appear (and the Academy president always does) and likely talk about it.
To me, Goldberg makes the most sense. But who knows, they might just go with another old white guy.
Who do you think will present Best Picture?