Relativity’s President of Motion Picture and Television Group Dana Brunetti has a bold pitch to produce this February’s Academy Awards.
“If I produce the Oscars, it’s not going to be a four-hour show,” Brunetti told Vanity Fair. “We’re going to get rid of some of the awards, get rid of some of the dance numbers. What everyone’s waiting for is best actor, best actress, best director, best picture — everything that is at the end.
“They have all of these other awards at the front that the audience really doesn’t care about,” added Brunetti, the Oscar-nominated producer of “Captain Phillips” and “The Social Network” whose name has been floated as a contender to produce the Academy’s 89th annual awards show. “Then what ends up happening is that the winners that everyone cares about finally get on stage, and they are rushed because the show is out of time.”
The Academy has not yet announced producers or a host for this year’s ceremony, scheduled to take place on February 26. “The Academy hasn’t decided yet,” Brunetti told Vanity Fair. “I told them I would be glad to do it. But they might think I’m a little too risque and outspoken.”
Even if Brunetti landed the gig, it’s unlikely that he could radically alter the nature of an awards show rooted in tradition.
While the Oscar show producer can make a number of decisions to shape the telecast, he or she does not have the ability to eliminate awards from the show. That call could only be made in consultation with the show’s broadcaster, ABC, which might be supportive, and with the Academy’s Board of Governors, which consists of representatives from every branch and would be unlikely to approve leaving out any of the 24 Oscar categories.
Last year’s Academy Awards were produced by Reginald Hudlin and David Hill, and hosted by Chris Rock. The telecast was the third least-watched in history and saw the lowest total viewership in eight years.
Brunetti, a former producing partner of Kevin Spacey at Trigger Street Productions, is currently trying to ramp up Relativity’s film slate. On Friday, it announced plans to remake the 1952 Western classic “High Noon,” and recently promised to begin production on a long-delayed reboot of “The Crow” in January.
The studio emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April, for which the company filed in 2015. That month, actor-director-producer Spacey backed away from a previously announced plan to join the studio as as chairman, leaving Brunetti to pilot CEO Ryan Kavanaugh‘s ship solo.
Last week, Relativity also announced the launch of a new indie label named R2 Entertainment which will aim to develop lower-budget platform releases.
Last weekend marked the first theatrical release for the studio since emerging from bankruptcy. “The Disappointments Room” starring Kate Beckinsale. opened to an actual disappointment with $1.4 million, although it was produced for $16 million.