Oscars tape Mark, Condon to produce

September 24, 2008 7:43:49 PM PDT
Two Hollywood veterans, Laurence Mark and Bill Condon, will oversee the next Academy Awards telecast. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Wednesday that producer Mark will produce the Feb. 22 show, while writer-director Condon will be executive producer. It will be the first time either has worked on the Oscars.

"It's both daunting and the gig of a lifetime," Mark said. "We haven't done anything like this before. I'm hoping that's in some way a plus. We don't quite know what can't be done."

Sid Ganis, the academy's president, said Mark and Condon are "fresh thinkers" who will bring a new perspective to the show.

"They're both fun and elegant, and that's what we want the show to be," Ganis said.

Mark and Condon worked together on 2006's "Dreamgirls." Mark's other producing credits include "I, Robot" and "Jerry Maguire."

Condon won a screenplay Oscar for 1998's "Gods and Monsters," and was nominated for a second for writing 2002 best-picture winner "Chicago."

The first order of business for the pair?

Choosing the Oscar host.

"All doors are open," Mark said. "The casting of any movie is crucial to the success of the movie, and we believe the same is true with any kind of awards show. The casting of the host is a big deal."

He declined to offer any hints as to whether a past host would return or a new face would grace the Kodak Theatre stage.

Mark and Condon plan to brainstorm together - and listen to the counsel of the film academy's staff - to create a show that celebrates movies.

"Not only should the Oscars celebrate excellence in the movies of the year," Mark said, "but hopefully we can figure out a way to also celebrate the joy, poignancy, laughter and thrills that folks have had at many movies of the year."