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Cinema

Glimpse into Oscars Rehearsals Shows Stars at Dolby Theatre

LOS ANGELES — On Oscars Sunday, audiences can expect to see stars reunited from some of their favorite films.

“Four Weddings and a Funeral” co-stars Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell will stand beside one another to present an award at the show, as will Harrison Ford and Glenn Close, the President and Vice President of the United States in “Air Force One,” and “Creed III” frenemies Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors.

The Associated Press got to take a peek inside Oscars rehearsals at the Dolby Theatre Saturday morning. A two-hour power outage in Hollywood did not affect work inside the Dolby but forced shops and restaurants at the Ovation Hollywood complex to close and stopped elevators at an adjacent hotel.

Saturday morning, Oscar presenters made the trek to the theater as a light, chilly rain fell outside, to run through their lines and practice handing out awards. It’s one of several rehearsals in the leadup to the show, culminating with a full run through that stretches late into the night.

The theater, populated by a few dozen people from Janet Yang, the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to the stagehands and camera operators practicing their movements, had an air of calm and anticipation.

“I hope I say everything correctly,” MacDowell said while opening the envelope. “I hope I pronounce everything correctly. I wish Hugh was doing this part.”

The awards are fake and so are the winners — working actors are hired to play nominees, sit in their seats, take the stage and give acceptance speeches. The same person might be playing everyone from “Tár” director Todd Field to composer John Williams. And all are ready to go with well-researched, and very brief, remarks.

The presenters all have different approaches. Some are one and done — others have questions and tweaks. Jordan discussed the font size on the teleprompter with show producer Glenn Weiss. Mindy Kaling had her director’s hat on, rewriting and reworking some of her and John Cho’s remarks on the spot.

“Sorry I was asking so many questions,” Kaling said.

“No, thank God you did,” Cho responded.

Florence Pugh and Andrew Garfield had the giggles running through their lines. Garfield got up to the mic and cleared his throat.

“Maybe don’t do that,” Pugh said.

Halle Berry practiced with a small brunette woman playing Jessica Chastain and Kate Hudson made a dramatic entrance, theatrically extending her arms as if to say “I’ve arrived.”

Though all will be dressed to the nines in 24 hours, rehearsals are a decidedly more casual affair — at least for the men. Jordan was dressed in a matching black sweatsuit, while Grant opted for a more professorial look with a blazer, sweater, Oxford shirt combination. The women all wore their show heels with their jeans and daywear. Not only do the camera operators need to know just how tall the stars are going to be on the night, but it’s also a long walk across the storied stage with millions watching.

Most of what goes on in the theater is strictly off the record, however — from the look of the stage to who is handing out which award and what they’re scripted to say. Those behind the show, which airs live Sunday on ABC at 8 p.m. Eastern, want to preserve some surprises after all.

 

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