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Producer Hints about Dance-Heavy Oscars

On Twitter, co-producer Adam Shankman has been writing about dance auditions, John Hughes tributes and more

The 82nd Oscar show will include dancing by the winner of “So You Can Think You Can Dance” … and maybe by the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers … and perhaps a tribute to director John Hughes ….

Those, at least, are some of the hints dropped by Adam Shankman, who’s been intermittently posting info about his plans for the show on Twitter since being named co-producer (with Bill Mechanic) back in October.

Shankman hasn’t really given away anything (other than the identity of the show’s set designer, David Rockwell, which he revealed in a tweet before the Academy issued a press release), and there’s no telling which of his ideas will come to fruition. But based on his occasional comments, which included a call to his followers to suggest what they’d like to see, we have some idea of what might be in store.

For starters, look for dance routines. Although Shankman once tweeted that he wouldn’t necessarily include dancing in his show because he hates musical numbers in shows “when they dont make sense,” he’s obviously changed his mind since then.

He’ll be choreographing the show himself, he says. Russell Ferguson, the winner of the show on which Shankman serves as a judge, “So You Can Think You Can Dance,” will be a performer, as will that show’s top female finisher, Kathryn McCormick. Other “SYTYCD” personnel who’ll either perform or help include Legacy Perez, Ellenore Scott and Jakob Karr.

Additional dancers will be chosen from auditions in Los Angeles on January 22 and 23. Some of the dancers from “SYTYCD” will assist. “Russell, Katherine, Travis [Wall] and Kayla [Radomski] for sure. Maybe others.”

The audition, he says, is “gonna be tough, so get ready!”

The dance troupe Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, aka LXD, could perform on the show as well. At least Shankman calls the idea an “interesting thought.”

FYI, here’s what they looked like on the “SYTYCD” finale. I have trouble picturing them smoothly integrated into an Oscar show, but maybe that’s just me ….
 

Other tidbits:

Emmys and Tonys host Neil Patrick Harris will be on the Oscars “when it’s right.” Which probably means it’s not right now.

Off the dance front, the recently deceased writer-director John Hughes might get a special tribute on the show. At least it seems as if that’s what Shankman was hinting at when he rewatched “The Breakfast Club,” called it “one of the best movies ever made,” and then said, “I wonder if I should do a special tribute to John Hughes somewhere.”

Oscar.com, the show’s official website, is going to have “amazing content,” probably including Twitter.

Shankman laughed so hard he “almost passed out” when he had dinner in New York with co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.

The Oscars are inspiring everything in him, and he can’t stop choreographing.

As producer of the Oscars he can’t say much about what movies he likes, but he loves “Up in the Air” (“some of the best, most understated acting you will see this year”) and “Avatar” (“brilliant … amazing … game changer”).

Although he saw “Nine” the same day he saw “Avatar,” the “Hairspray” director didn’t say anything Rob Marshall’s musical. Make of that what you will.

When he opened the floor to suggestions from his followers, he was deluged with suggestions that he book Adam Lambert to sing and use Rob Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens as presenters. "I now understand" my Twitter followers, he wrote in reply, calling them "a unified group who like romance, talent, and pop cltur." Then he wrote, "Oscar suggestion box closed!"

And, by the way, he responded to posts wondering if he was trivializing the Oscars by bringing in “SYTYCD” dancers and opening the floor to suggestions of “Rob and Kristen and Zac and Vanessa” by insisting that he’ll be respectful and classy.

“It has to do with putting on a great Oscar show,” he wrote. “That’s my job. Paying beautiful tribute to entertainment and film.”

“I promise that the glamour and sense of occasion will be present!”

Here’s Shankman talking about why he’s giving the top “SYTYCD” dancers a spot on the Oscars, and remembering the 1990 show on which he appeared as one of choreographer Debbie Allen’s dancers.