The Oscars 2023: Snapshots from the Rehearsals
Andie MacDowell ripped open the envelope and took a long look at the “winners” listed inside. They weren’t the actual Oscar recipients, just nominees selected at random for the purposes of this Saturday morning rehearsal for Sunday night’s Oscar broadcast.
“And the Oscar goes to …” MacDowell said, before hesitating on the stage of the Dolby Theatre. “I hope I pronounce it correctly. I wish Hugh was doing this part. But … I will do it.”
“Hugh,” of course, was Hugh Grant, her love interest from the 1994 romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral. Much about the rehearsals must be kept secret: 1.) which award the presenters were assigned, 2.) the scripted banter they exchanged, and 3.) which famous faces stared at them from the mostly empty theater. Out there in the aisles, poster boards emblazoned with celebrity headshots stood in the seats so the camera crews could practice reaction shots.
Interesting team-ups will be a running theme of this year’s show. Among others, Jonathan Majors will appear onstage alongside Michael B. Jordan, his director and costar from Creed III. Both are also iconic Marvel villains, with Jordan’s twisted turn as Killmonger in the Black Panther films and Majors’ timeline-hopping menace, Kang the Conquerer from Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, and a whole slate of upcoming films in the comic book universe.
Harrison Ford and Glenn Close will also present together in a reunion that ‘90s action-film fans will love. She was vice president to his POTUS in 1997’s Air Force One.
MacDowell’s worry about mispronouncing someone’s name or stumbling over words was a common one among the people practicing for their global telecast. Pretty much every performer who walked through their presentations on Saturday expressed something similar: please don’t let me mess up.
Mindy Kaling and John Cho fretted about how to divvy up their lines to hit the right rhythm with some visual and auditory cues that will play as they introduce their category. Smoothing out these wrinkles is the point of these walk-throughs.
Not all of them were paired with their actual partners. Kate Hudson will present alongside Janelle Monae during the actual show, but on Saturday she stood alongside a stand-in. Last year’s best actress winner was also absent from the theater, but her presentation partner Halle Berry went through the paces with a faux Jessica Chastain.
Some of the presenters received practical guidance. Florence Pugh and Andrew Garfield were nudged closer to the microphone by the assistant director since their voices were coming through too faintly. And when Garfield first walked out on stage he stammered, laughed, and loudly cleared his throat.
That was a sound the microphone picked up loud and clear. Very loud.
“Maybe don’t do that,” Pugh suggested.
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