Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer and Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams will join the Academy Awards telecast as music consultants. It will be the first time both men have worked on the show.
Zimmer is an eight-time Oscar nominee (including for the original scores of Inception, Sherlock Holmes, and Gladiator) and took home the statue for The Lion King. Williams, who considers Zimmer his mentor and has long wanted to collaborate with Oscars producer Brian Grazer, wrote the original score for Despicable Me.
It was during a recent phone call with Zimmer talking about their online music-made-simple venture UJAM that Zimmer said, “Hey, I have this idea. They asked me about the Oscars, and I thought about you. Would you be into it?'” Williams tells EW. “And I was like, ‘H— yeah.’ So he said, ‘Okay, it’s settled. We’ll do it as partners.’ And I said, ‘Okay, cool. let’s do it.’ The rest is history, man. It was in the trades everywhere the next day, and I was like Wow.”
Williams says they’ve already had a meeting with Grazer, but he won’t get into specifics. “I don’t want to lessen the impact of what we’re trying to do, but it’s some really interesting things. I think people will be very surprised… We’ll be writing a lot of music, we’ll be doing what you assume the job entails, but beyond what you would expect. It’s different. It’s an interesting opportunity. [Hans and I] are both other-minded folks. We’re other. We’re not cut from the regular cloth. So we have to do other things.”
The importance of the evening hasn’t escaped him. “I’m pinching myself mentally, like yes, this is real,” he says. “As a child, you always watch the Academy Awards. I never thought I would ever be a part of the show. Literally a part of the show.”
The 84th Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, will air Feb. 26 on ABC.