Oscar producer on First Lady, Meryl Streep, and song for the losers
How did the producers manage to keep the First Lady’s involvement in the ceremony a secret? Why didn’t Meryl Streep open the envelope for best actor? Did Host Seth MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth actually know the identity of the losers before they wrote that snarky ode to them? We asked Director Don Mischer to answer some of our burning questions about Sunday’s telecast of the Academy Awards.
When did they book Michelle Obama to reveal the Best Picture winner? “That happened about two weeks ago and we kept it all a secret,” Mischer told EW. “There were just a few of us who knew. We had a code name for it… Operation Florence. Nobody on our crew knew until Sunday afternoon before we went on the air.”
When did Seth MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth write the loser song that ran over the end credits? “It was rewritten during the show,” Mischer said. “Seth wrote a template, a framework. There was a big joke in there about Argo not winning, but since Argo won, we had to rewrite it. It was being rewritten until the last award. We have four minutes of credits at the end and it’s always kind of a throwaway, so we decided to try something more fun.”
Did you know Meryl Streep wasn’t going to open the envelope for the Best Actor category on camera? “No, she threw me for a loop! I want to see the envelope opening up as I’m coming out of the film clip. She must have opened it up during the film clip. That kind of threw me. There was a technical hitch right there. I like to cut to these boxes where you see everybody and the winner pops up full. She said the winner before we could ever blow up the box with the winner!”
What happened to Jennifer Lawrence on her way up stage to accept her Oscar for Best Actress? “She fell, but broke her fall with her left arm,” said Mischer. “I don’t know whether she tripped on the fabric of her gown going up the steps. It was awkward. As directors, we worry about that stuff. What happens if someone collapses on the way up the steps or something? I was really happy when we realized she was not hurt and could survive the whole thing, get up there and react. It was quick and painless. Those are the things that happen with live television!”