Review: ‘White Noise’ (2022), starring Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig and Don Cheadle

September 30, 2022

by Carla Hay

Sam Nivola, Adam Driver, May Nivola, Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy and Dean Moore or Henry Moore (pictured in front) in “White Noise” (Photo by Wilson Webb/Netflix)

“White Noise” (2022)

Directed by Noah Baumbach

Culture Representation: Taking place in Ohio, the comedy/drama film “White Noise” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with some African Americans) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A college professor and his family begin to see life differently after a toxic pollution disaster forces residents in their area to evacuate and take shelter in public places.

Culture Audience: “White Noise” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of filmmaker Noah Baumbach; stars Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, and Don Cheadle; and comedy/drama films with life-and-death themes.

Don Cheadle and Adam Driver in “White Noise” (Photo by Wilson Webb/Netflix)

With acerbic wit about life and death, “White Noise” memorably shows how a college professor and his family cope with an unexpected evacuation from a pollution disaster. In this well-acted but uneven comedy/drama, the real disaster is dishonesty in relationships. The movie covers both familiar and unfamiliar territory for writer/director/producer Noah Baumbach, whose speciality is making movies about neurotic, middle-class people who deal with problems that they usually bring on themselves.

“White Noise,” which is based on Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel of the same name, had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in Italy and its North American premiere at the 2022 New York Film Festival in New York City. The “White Noise” movie is also set in the early-to-mid-1980s. Baumbach’s “White Noise” cinematic adaptation is quintessential Baumbach, with a talented cast who adeptly handle the verbose dialogue. In Baumbach’s movies, the characters tend to do an over-analysis of people and life, to great comedic effect.

What isn’t typical of Baumbach is for him direct a movie from an adapted screenplay. The previous movies that Baumbach has directed were from his own original screenplays. Baumbach also never done a disaster movie that will get some comparisons to the way that Steven Spielberg does disaster movies.

“White Noise” isn’t a big-budget blockbuster. However, “White Noise” does have some tense action sequences of people trying to find shelter in a disaster, in scenes that are very reminiscent of Spielberg’s 2005 version of “War of the Worlds.” There’s no outer-space alien invasion in “White Noise. The real disruption comes to members of a family who are forced to confront uncomfortable truths about themselves after they evacuate from their home during the disaster.

In “White Noise,” which takes place in an unnamed cities in Ohio, a college professor named Jack Gladney (played by Adam Driver) thinks he’s living a very safe and comfortable life where he has a lot of patriarchal control. Jack teaches the unusual subject of “advanced Nazism” at a learning institution that is never named in the movie, but is referred to as the College on the Hill. Jack usually thinks he’s the smartest person in the room at any given time (a personality trait of least one main character in a typical Baumbach film), so Jack tends to be overbearing and arrogant, but not to the point of being completely obnoxious.

Jack lives with his wife Babette (played by Greta Gerwig), who works as an activities director at a senior living center. Babette and Jack have a blended family that includes four children. Eldest child Heinrich (played by Sam Nivola), a son from Jack’s previous marriage, is about 16 years old and has a keen interest in science. The middle children are Babette’s two daughters from her previous marriage: Denise (played by Raffey Cassidy), who’s about 15 years old, and Steffie (played by May Nivola), who’s about 12 years old. Jack and Babette have a biological child together named Wilder (played by identical twins Henry Moore and Dean Moore), who’s about 4 years old.

The first third of the movie mostly shows how Jack interacts with people in his home and at work. At home, Jack and his very opinionated family frequently talk over each other and have simultaneous conversations with each other. Babette tends to be cheerful and optimistic. Jack tends to be stern and cynical. Mornings in the kitchen and dining room can be described as ordered chaos, as Heinrich, Denise and Steffie sometimes bicker, while their parents try to get everyone out of the house in time to go where they need to be.

At work, Jack takes pleasure in commanding the room with his in-depth lectures about Nazis. The movie never explains why Jack is so fascinated with Nazis (he does not endorse this hate group), but in his lectures, Jack drops hints that people need to study what the Nazis did so that atrocities like the Holocaust won’t happen again. As a history expert, Jack is profoundly awestuck by how quickly Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime took over Europe and had far-reaching effects across the world.

Jack has a friendly rapport with his Murray Suskind (played by Don Cheadle), an entertainment industry professor at the same college. In the opening scene of “White Noise,” Murray is seen giving an enthusiastic lecture about the art of car crashes in American movies. He even goes as far to say that car crashes in American movies are superior than car crashes in European movies.

Murray tells his students that these cinematic car crashes are “a long tradition of American optimism” and “self-celebration.” Murray adds, “Look past the violence, I say, and there is a wonderful, brimming spirit of innocence and fun.” Murray’s lecture is the movie’s first indication that several of the movie’s characters are living in a safe bubble that’s about to be popped.

Murray greatly admires Jack’s lecture styling, so later in the movie, there’s an amusing scene where Jack (at Murray’s invitation) is a guest speaker in Murray’s classroom. The topic is about Elvis Presley, but Jack has been asked to give information showing how Presley and Hitler had many things in common. For example, Presley and Hitler both had fanatical followings and both were “mama’s boys” with domineering mothers.

This “Presley/Hitler” lecture starts off as a dual presentation, with Murray and Jack taking turns giving factoids about Presley and Hitler. But then, Jack shows his tendency of taking control of everything he does, and Jack ends up taking over the lecture and doing all the talking. Jack gets so worked-up and passionate in his speaking that he almost acts like a pastor preaching to a congregation.

Jack’s speech culminates with Jack getting a standing ovation from everyone else in the room, including a few other faculty members who stopped by to hear Jack speak in this class. One of these co-workers is a professor named Elliot Lasher (played by André Benjamin. also known as André 3000), who’s a mild-mannered eccentric who doesn’t do much in his scenes except smile and give words of encouragement to the people around him.

Jack’s ego certainly gets a boost from this standing ovation. But within the 24 hours, his world will come crashing down with an avalanche of insecurity, deceit and mistrust. It starts off when Denise tells Jack that, in the kitchen garbage can, she found an empty prescription pill bottle owned by Babette. The prescription label on the bottle says that it contained a drug called Dylar.

Denise is worried because she can’t find Dylar in any medical book. (Remember, this story takes place in the 1980s, before the Internet existed.) Jack acts like he isn’t too worried, but deep down, he’s concerned too because he didn’t know anything about this prescription. Jack doesn’t confront or ask Babette about this secret prescription right away.

But something about this deception must have triggered something in Jack, because he starts to have harrowing nightmares that seem real. For example, he has a vision of a Jack clone or alter ego climbing into bed with him and sleeping in the place on the bed where Denise usually sleeps. In one of these nightmares, this Jack “clone” almost get suffocated by a blanket by an unseen force.

Meanwhile, a truck carrying toxic chemicals crashes into a moving train when the truck driver is distracted by grabbing a bottle of liquor from a passenger seat. It results in a massive train wreck and an explosion that destroys the truck and sends toxic chemicals in the air. The smoke can be seen for miles away.

One of the people who sees this smoke is Heinrich, who looks at it from afar with his binoculars. Heinrich heard about the train wreck on the local TV news. And he’s afraid that the toxic chemicals could pollute the air and be disaster for the area residents. Henrich tells his parents that maybe they should temporarily evacuate if the smoke comes any closer.

At first, Jack and Babette (especially Jack) are dismissive of Heinrich’s concerns. Jack says that it’s unlikely that the family will be affected by the smoke, since it’s not windy outside at the moment. And when it does get windy, Jack says that wind tends to blow in the direction that’s the opposite of their house.

It turns out that Jack is very wrong about his assumptions. The TV news descriptions of this pollution goes from being described as “a black billowing cloud” to “the airborne toxic event.” Emergency officials are ordering local residents to evacuate. Still in denial, Jack and Babette don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

But their attitude quickly changes when they see their neighborhood become deserted, with fire trucks and other emergency vehicles racing everywhere. By the time the Gladney family members evacuate their home, they’re in a sheer panic. While driving in the family car to go to the nearest designated shelter, they encounter many obstacles, including a traffic jam.

The rest of “White Noise” shows how the family members bond together and fall apart in certain ways during this disaster. While in the car, Jack notices Babette put something in her mouth and quickly swallow it, so he asks her what she just swallowed. Babette says it was a piece of Life Savers candy, but Jack is doubtful. He begins to wonder if it was a pill of the mysterious drug Dylar.

“White Noise” shows in clever and sometimes oddly amusing ways how the problems that are exposed in the Gladney family are a microcosm of a larger society problem of people being lulled and sometimes programmed into a false sense of security. It comes out in subtle and not-so-subtle symbolism and conversations in the movie. The character of Jack embodies this dichtomy of someone who thinks he’s in total control of his life but finds out that his life can quickly get out of his control, thereby making him question how much control he really has.

For example, when Henrick warns his family that the mysterious smoke could be dangerous pollution, Jack’s condescending comments is that if it turns into a disaster, the “poor and uneducated” will be the ones who will be hurt the most. Jack’s attitude is a satire of a very real mentality that middle-class and upper-class intellectuals have that they are somehow “immune” from catastrophes because they think they’re too smart and will somehow know how to avoid them.

Jack’s ego gets a little confused and flustered when he finds out that Heinrich knows a lot more about this type of science than Jack does. Jack seems proud of Heinrich for this knowledge, but it still makes Jack a little uneasy that Heinrich correctly predicted this disaster when Jack had been so dismissive and wrong about it. And with Heinrich outsmarting Jack when it comes to the science of this disaster, Jack turns toward his marriage to assert some of the dominance that he expects.

All of the cast members are well-suited to their roles, but the movie is really about what happens between Jack and Babette. They don’t have the type of marriage that is headed for divorce, unlike the couple in Baumbach’s 2019 drama “Marriage Story,” for which Driver earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Instead, Jack and Babette go through experiences that will make them reconsider how they are going to handle their marriage after the evacuation is over.

The fear of death and how to prepare for death are overarching themes in “White Noise,” as the pollution disaster makes several people confront their mortality. Early on in the movie, before even knowing that this disaster would happen, Jack tells Babette that he wants to die before her and that her death will be more spectacular than his. Jack says that Babette would be able to cope with being a widowed spouse better than he would be able to cope with being a widowed spouse. It might sound like a backwards compliment to Babette, but it’s really Jack’s way of saying that he doesn’t want to be a lonely widower who dies alone.

“White Noise” is hit or miss when it comes to character development. Cassidy (as Denise), Sam Nivola (as Heinrich), May Nivola (as Steffie) have believable chemistry together as stepsiblings trying to adjust to their blended family situation. (Sam and May Nivola are siblings in real life. Their parents are actors Alessandro Nivola and Emily Mortimer.) By the last third of the movie, the kids are essentially sidelined for some soap opera-ish drama between Jack and Babette.

Jack’s college professor colleagues are undeveloped supporting characters. Viewers won’t find out much about Murray, Elliot and the other co-workers who frequently have lunch with Jack: neurochemist Winnie Richards (played by Jodie-Turner Smith), Alfonse (played by Sam Gold) and Cotsakis (played by George Drakoulias). Barbara Sukowa makes the most out of her cameo as an atheist nun called Sister Hermann Marie. Other characters appear in and out of the story like comedic plot devices, rather than people with fully developed personalities.

The conversations in “White Noise” have a cadence that might remind viewers of a stage play. Baumbach and the cast members have given interviews, including a press conference held after the movie’s New York Film Festival’s “White Noise” press screening, where it’s mentioned that the cast members had one month of rehearsals before filming the movie. Most movie productions do not have that rare rehearsal privilege for cast members.

The ending of “White Noise” might seem a little too conveniently contrived for some people’s tastes. However, the end-credits sequence is a must-see for viewers, because this sequence artfully ties in together many of the movie’s themes, (The end-credits sequence involves dance choreography at an A&P grocery store while the LCD Soundsystem song “New Body Rhumba” plays on the movie soundtrack.) The “white noise” of life can either pacify, agitate or do both, depending on the people and the circumstances. The movie “White Noise” asks people and wants to know: “Are you paying attention to the white noise in the first place?”

Netflix will release “White Noise” in select U.S. cinemas on November 25, 2022. The movie will premiere on Netflix on December 30, 2022.

Review: ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy,’ starring LeBron James

August 18, 2021

by Carla Hay

LeBron James and Bugs Bunny in “Space Jam: A New Legacy” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

“Space Jam: A New Legacy”

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee

Culture Representation: Taking place in the Los Angeles area and in an alternate technology universe, the live-action/animated film “Space Jam: A New Legacy” features a predominantly African American cast of characters (with some white people, Latinos and Asians) representing the middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A computer algorithm traps basketball superstar LeBron James in a technology universe, where he joins forces with Warner Bros.-owned Looney Tunes characters for a high-stakes basketball game against computer-generated villains that want to take over the world. 

Culture Audience: Besides appealing to the obvious target audience of LeBron James fans and Looney Tunes fans, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” will appeal primarily to people interested in watching a mindless but harmless family film that overloads on shilling for various Warner Bros. entertainment products and services.

Cedric Joe and Don Cheadle in “Space Jam: A New Legacy” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” is not meant to be a real movie. It’s just a long and witless commercial for Warner Bros. entertainment entities, with LeBron James as a celebrity spokesperson. Even young children and gullible people will notice the over-the-top, shameless plugging of all things Warner Bros. in “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” It’s hard not to miss this obnoxious promotion, because it’s in every scene.

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” is the sequel to 1996’s “Space Jam.” Both are hybrid live-action/animated movies about basketball superstars who team up with Warner Bros.-owned Looney Tunes characters to play against villains in a life-or-death basketball game. Michael Jordan starred in “Space Jam,” which was also a silly movie, but it had a lot more heart and sincerity than “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which stars LeBron James.

Both “Space Jam” movies have celebrity athletes portraying themselves. All of these athletes have limited acting skills, even if some of these basketball icons have loads of charisma in real life. However, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” is a much more cynically made movie, because its highest priority is selling Warner Bros. characters and products. At least the first “Space Jam” movie made more of an attempt to be humorous and have several significant characters whose purpose was not to be a mascot for Warner Bros.

It’s not a good sign when a movie has more than four credited screenwriters, because it usually means that there were “too many cooks in the kitchen.” “Space Jam: A New Legacy” has six screenwriters: Celeste Ballard, Keenan Coogler, Jesse Gordon, Terence Nance, Tony Rettenmaier and Juel Taylor. And what’s even worse is that all of these “Space Jam: A New Legacy” screenwriters couldn’t come up with a truly original story for this sequel.

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” essentially copies the same template as “Space Jam,” with just a few changes, such as the reason for the big showdown basketball game that happens in the last third of the film. In “Space Jam,” Jordan has to do battle against basketball-playing monsters from outer space that were literally stealing the talent (by suctioning it out in gas form) from NBA stars. In “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” James has to do battle against a computer algorithm (which can take the shape of a man) that has stolen his younger son and created a team of monsters for the basketball showdown.

Each movie opens with a highlight montage of the basketball superstar’s career, up until the movie was made. Each movie has someone saying more than once, “You can’t be great without putting in the work.” Each movie ends exactly how you think it will end.

In “Space Jam: A New Legacy” LeBron’s 12-year-old son Dominic, nicknamed Dom (played by Cedric Joe), is a computer whiz and aspiring video game developer who has been kidnapped by a computer algorithm called Al G. Rhythm (played by Don Cheadle) into the algorithm’s universe called the Warner 3000 server-verse. Inside this server-verse exists everything Warner Bros., including Looney Tunes World.

Dom feels unappreciated and misunderstood by LeBron, who is pushing Dom to become a basketball star. Dom likes playing basketball and is on his school’s basketball team, but he’s an average player, and he doesn’t have the passion for the game like his father does. There’s a predictable scene in the beginning of the film where Dom is playing in a school game, and he misses a shot that causes the team to lose the game.

Dom wants to attend an E3 Game Design camp, but it’s taking place on the same weekend as a basketball camp that LeBron wants Dom to attend. Father and son argue about it. But in the end, LeBron is the adult in charge and tells Dom that he has no choice but to go to the basketball camp. Dom is predictably resentful about this decision and his father’s control over his life.

The rest of LeBron’s family are just filler characters that don’t get much screen time and don’t add much to the story. LeBron’s wife Kamiyah (played by Sonequa Martin-Green) chimes in early in the movie to say to LeBron about his parenting skills for Dom: “I’m worried that you’re pushing him too hard … He doesn’t need a coach. He needs a dad.”

In this movie, LeBron and Kamiyah have two other children: teenager Darius (played by Ceyair J Wright) and kindergarten-age Xosha (played by Harper Leigh Alexander). Darius’ only purpose in the movie is to be a teasing older brother and occasional basketball practice opponent with Dom. Xosha’s only purpose in the movie is to be a cute and charming kid.

Because “Space Jam: Legacy” is a Warner Bros. commercial, LeBron and takes Dom with him to a business meeting at Warner Bros. Studios headquarters in Burbank, California. Also in this meeting is LeBron’s childhood friend Malik (played by Khris Davis), who is now LeBron’s manager. It’s at Warner Bros. headquarters that viewers first see Al G. Rhythm giving a monologue, as he lurks in the recesses of some giant computer mainframe somewhere in a back room.

Al G. Rhythm can take many different shapes and forms, but he comes out looking like Cheadle when he wants to look like a human. Al G. Rhythm has concocted an idea to use Warner 3000 technology to scan LeBron into Warner Bros. movies so that LeBron’s image can replace major characters in these movies. Warner Bros. executives will present this idea to LeBron in this meeting. The unnamed executives are portrayed in cameo roles by Sarah Silverman and Steven Yeun, who look like they know they’re in a dumb movie and just want a quick and easy paycheck.

Al G. Rhythm has a sidekick named Pete, which is a mute blue blob that doesn’t do much but act as a sounding board for Al G. Rhythm. Before the meeting takes place, Al G. Rhythm gives this monologue: “I’ve searched far and wide for the perfect partner for this launch. And I finally found him, Pete. He’s a family man, an entrepreneur, a social media superstar, with millions of fans worldwide. Algorithmically speaking, he’s more than an athlete. He’s a king!”

Is this an algorithm or a LeBron James fanboy? Al G. Rhythm then continues with his ranting manifesto, “I’m stuck in the server-verse. No one knows who I am or what I do. But all that changes today, because Warner Bros. launches the revolutionary technology that I masterminded. Today, it’s my time to shine! Once I partner with King James and combine his fame with my incredible tech, I will finally get the recognition and respect that I so richly deserve!”

There’s just one big problem. In the business meeting, LeBron says he hates the idea of being scanned and put into Warner Bros. movies as a replacement character. (But in real life, apparently, he had no problem being put into a Warner Bros. commercial posing as a movie.) The sycophantic executives agree, and the idea is scrapped.

Al G. Rhythm is angry and insulted that his idea was rejected, so he kidnaps Dom, who becomes trapped in the server-verse. And the only way that Dom can be returned to his family is if LeBron and a basketball team that LeBron has assembled win in a “death match” game against Al G. Rhythm and the villain basketball team that Al G. Rhythm has assembled. All of this requires LeBron to go in the server-verse to find Dom. When LeBron (in animated form) ends up in Looney Tunes World, you know what happens next.

At first, LeBron arrives in Looney Tunes World in simplistic animated form. But then, Al G. Rhythm shows up to “enhance” all the players who will be on Lebron’s basketball team, so they go from looking like hand-drawn 2-D animation to computer-generated 3-D animation. The team is called the Tune Squad. The Looney Tunes characters who are on LeBron’s team act exactly how you would expect them to act.

The “Space Jam: A New Legacy” filmmakers got their money’s worth because a small number of voice actors protray several of the Looney Tunes characters, instead having all of the characters each voiced by a different actor. Jeff Bergman is the voice of Bugs Bunny, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, Fred Flintstone and Yogi Bear. Eric Bauza is the voice of Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd and Marvin the Martian. Gabriel Iglesias is the voice of Speedy Gonzales. Zendaya is the voice of Lola Bunny. Candi Milo is the voice of Granny. Bob Bergen is the voice of Tweety Bird. Fred Tatasciore is the voice of Taz.

In opposition to the Tune Squard, Al G. Rhythm has created the Good Squad by enhancing real-life NBA and WNBA star players into computerized mutant super-villains. Anthony Davis is The Brow, a giant blue falcon-like creature with a 30-foot wing span. Diana Taurasi is White Mamba, a super-sized mutant snake. Klay Thompson is Wet/Fire, a creature that can create flames and water, as if that wouldn’t be considered a major foul on a basketball court. Nneka Ogwumike is Arachnneka, a large mutant spider. Damien Lillard is Chronos, a time-manipulating creature that can use Dame Time to slow down opponents while he can quickly use fighting techniques.

The big basketball showdown that serves as the movie’s climax is so formulaic that it will be easy to get distracted by trying to spot all the characters from Warner Bros. movies that are in the audience. The audience is supposed to consists of thousands of LeBron’s social media followers who were beamed in from the Internet. But somehow, those who ended up getting the most prominent placement in the front rows were various characters from Warner Bros.-owned entertaint entities, such as Harry Potter, King Kong, Joker, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Scooby-Doo, Neo from “The Matrix,” Austin Powers, plus characters from “The Wizard of Oz,” “Game of Thrones,” “Gremlins,” “The Mask,” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Some of the Warner Bros. promotion overload is ridiculous and embarrassing to those involved. There’s a scene where Bugs Bunny is dressed as Batman and LeBron is dressed as Robin. There’s a scene where Porky Pig starts rapping in a way that’s has as much hip-hop cred as Judy Garland singing in “The Wizard of Oz.” (In other words: none.)

And there’s even a scene where Al G. Rhythm yells, “King Kong’s got nothing on me!” It’s a famous line said by Denzel Washington in his Oscar-winning role as a corrupt cop in 2001’s “Training Day,” which is (you guessed it) a Warner Bros. movie. After Al G. Rhythm shouts, “King Kong’s got nothing on me!,” King Kong is shown in the audience, crossing his arms in a snit, like a kid who’s been insulted on a playground.

The “family-friendly” messages of “Space Jam: Legacy” are secondary to the constant regurgitation of whatever “intellectual property” Warner Bros. is hawking. The word “inellectual” is an oxymoron for this idiotic film. The animation and visual effects aren’t going to be nominated for any major awards. Much of what happens in the movie is duller than it should be. And even the big basketball game toward the end isn’t very exciting. There’s a big “reveal” about someone on the Goon Squad that’s not surprising at all.

Cheadle is the movie’s only live-action cast member who seems to be having some fun because his performance is deliberately campy. His computer algorithm character has more personality than the human characters in this movie. The rest of the cast members in the movie’s live-action roles give mediocre and bland performances.

Ernie Johnson and Lil Rel Howery portray the basketball game’s announcers in what should have been hilarious roles, but everything these characters say is uninteresting. And unlike the original songs in the first “Space Jam” movie (which featured R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly”), none of the original songs in “Space Jam: A New Legacy” will become a hit anthem. The lines of dialogue given to the animated characters are also forgettable. The jokes fall flatter than Daffy Duck’s beak.

And as for LeBron James (who is one of the producers of “Space Jam: A New Legacy”), even the filmmakers know he wasn’t cast in this movie for his acting, because he says this line in the movie’s scene with the Warner Bros. executives: “I’m a ball player. And athletes acting—that never goes well.” That’s probably one of the most genuine things said in this overly contrived corporate movie that pushes plenty to sell but ultimately has a shortage of good filmmaking.

Warner Bros. Pictures released “Space Jam: A New Legacy” in U.S. cinemas and on HBO Max on July 16, 2021. The movie is set for release on digital and VOD on September 3, 2021, and on Blu-ray and DVD on October 5, 2021.

2021 Academy Awards: presenters and performers announced

April 23, 2021

The following is a combination of press releases from ABC:

Oscar® nominee Steven Yeun will join the ensemble cast slated to present at the 93rd Oscars®, show producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh announced today. “The Oscars” will air live on Sunday, April 25, 2021, on ABC.

“Surprise! We’re so excited to welcome Steven to the crew, and he completes our Oscars cast. No, really, this is it,” said Collins, Sher and Soderbergh.

The previously announced lineup includes Riz Ahmed, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Bong Joon Ho, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Renée Zellweger and Zendaya.

Celeste, H.E.R., Leslie Odom Jr., Laura Pausini, Daniel Pemberton, Molly Sandén and Diane Warren will perform the five nominated original songs in their entirety for “Oscars: Into the Spotlight,” the lead-in to the 93rd Oscars. One performance will be recorded in Húsavík, Iceland, and four at the Dolby Family Terrace of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. Hosted by actors Ariana DeBose (“Hamilton”) and Lil Rel Howery (“Bad Trip”), the 90-minute “Oscars: Into the Spotlight” will highlight the nominees’ journey to Hollywood’s biggest night, give fans around the world the ultimate insiders’ sneak peek to the party and, for the first time, bring Oscar music to the festivities. The show will feature a special appearance by DJ Tara. “Oscars: Into the Spotlight” will air Oscar Sunday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. EDT/3:30 p.m. PDT.  

The 93rd Oscars will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and international locations via satellite.  “Oscars: Into the Spotlight” will air live on ABC at 6:30 p.m. EDT/3:30 p.m. PDT. “The Oscars” will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT and in more than 200 territories worldwide.  “Oscars: After Dark” will immediately follow the Oscars show.

ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 10,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

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