The 89th Academy Awards are to air on February 26, and there is still neither a producer nor host to lead the show, Variety reports.
This is unprecedented for the Motion Picture Academy, as the longest it has gone before selecting a producer was in 2009 on Oct. 21.
However, Teni Melidonian, an Academy spokesperson, told Variety on Monday that news can be expected soon.
“We’ve had great conversations with several potential producers, and we’re excited to make our announcement shortly,” Melidonian said in an email. “The Academy and Oscar production teams are already working to create paths for an incoming producer to get started.”
Variety has been told that the Academy has formed a producers shortlist has been formed, though specific names have been released yet.
There is supposedly a debate amongst Academy leadership about the components of the Oscars telecast, whether it should “return to the starry grandeur and spectacle of past shows or stick with the clip-driven approach of this year’s telecast,” Variety reports. The nominated films this year will very likely be lesser-known independent films, and when top nominees are obscure and relatively unknown, viewership numbers are prone to hit lows.
Whoever is selected producer will be in a rush to scrap together a behind-the-scenes team, design a set, book presenters, etc. In previous years, much of that prep work was finished by late summer or early fall so that producers and hosts had as much time as possible to work out comedic and tribute segments. A large part of that methodology had to do with the hree-year deal the Academy had with producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.
Disney/ABC Television Group chief Ben Sherwood said in September that he was “very hopeful” Jimmy Kimmel would be in line to host the Oscars, but as of now Kimmel is not in line to host.