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Oscar producer Craig Zadan talks to Gay Star News about preparing for the awards

'We're working seven days a week, 24 hours a day and having the best time of our lives'
Craig_Zadan
Photo by Greg Hernandez

Craig Zadan was at the Television Critics Association's annual winter press tour in Pasadena this week to talk about the NBC series Smash which he executive produces with longtime professional partner Neil Meron.

But the prolific producer of such movies as Chicago and Hairspray took some time out to chat with Gay Star News about another little project that has been taking up just about all his time: producing, with Meron, the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

''We're working seven days a week, 24 hours a day and having the best time of our lives,' says Zadan.

This year's Oscar nominations will be announced in Beverly Hills on Thursday (10 January) and the winners will be unveiled next month (24 February).

So far, little has been revealed about their plans for the ceremony except that Seth Macfarlane will host and there will be a 50th anniversary tribute to the venerable James Bond franchise.

Will Daniel Craig be there?

'Maybe,' Zadan said, smiling, but refusing to divulge a thing.

But it is clear that he and Meron, both openly gay men, are savoring the experience.

'It's such a joy, it's so exciting,' Zadan says. 'We're putting in as much entertainment as had ever been put into and Oscar show. So we're very, very excited about what we're going to do with the show.'

Oscar telecasts rarely make everyone happy and sometimes, like two years ago when James Franco and Anne Hathaway bombed as co-hosts, make seemingly no one happy.

'People will decide if they like it or not,' Zadan says. 'Our job is to really make it the show that we want to see.'

So how are Zadan and Meron juggling their Oscar duties with their jobs as executive producers on Smash which returns to the NBC schedule for its second season next month (5 February).

'We're working at Smash at the same time,' Zadan says. 'But the difference is last season we were in Brooklyn working on Smash seven days a week. This year, we're working on the Oscars in person but we're on conference calls and email chains - there are 100 emails an hour on Smash. So we're constantly answering and making a decision on this or making a making a decision on that. Should we do this song or that song? That costume or this costume? The decisions in Smash are ongoing all day long. Even though we're not physically there, we're dealing with it electronically.'

He adds: 'We're in the room for the Oscars until February 24 and then we're free.'

Well, as free as two of the busiest producers in show business can be.

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