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An Oscar Duet for Quincy and Whoopi : Television: The noted composer and arranger will produce the 68th annual Academy Awards show, and the actress-comedian will host for a second time.

November 01, 1995|CLAUDIA PUIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Quincy Jones will produce and Whoopi Goldberg will host the 68th annual Academy Awards television show in March, it was announced Tuesday.

Jones and his partner, David Salzman, will co-produce the telecast, emanating from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and scheduled to be televised live on ABC March 25.

A noted composer and arranger who also heads up a wide-ranging multimedia company, Jones returns to the Oscars production team after 25 years, having served as musical director of the 43rd annual awards program in 1971. He has been a member of the academy since 1963, has been nominated for seven Oscars and was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994.

Goldberg was the first solo female to host the show two years ago and this will be her sixth appearance on the awards. She won the best supporting actress award in 1991 for her role in "Ghost."

"We just talked about this Friday and it took us over the weekend to really make up our minds," said Jones in a phone interview Tuesday about his discussions with Goldberg. "I'm very excited. We have lots of ideas, but it's premature to talk about it now. We just promise an exciting show. We have a lot of heavy shoes to fill. But, we'll be working with people I respect very much and have a strong relationship with, so I think it's going to be smooth. It's like one big family."

Jones said Goldberg--who was not on hand for the Tuesday morning press conference at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences--was quick to accept the hosting honors.

He went on to distinguish the actress-comedian from last year's host, David Letterman, citing her film background and experience with live stage performances.

"As good as a lot of people may be, I think the host should have some relationship to filmmaking," Jones said. "It's good to have great entertainers, but people who have a background in film are the best and Whoopi sure has had that. And she's well-trained in improvisational comedy. . . . She has all of the background.

"One thing I noticed when I conducted in '71 was that you can tell the difference between people who had only been in front of the cameras and had not done stage productions. People who've been on stage a long time know how to deal with audiences. And with her nightclub experience, she knows how to keep a straight line going with a lot of detours, hills and valleys. That's the main thing: To be able to react with spontaneity where you're not thrown off by a new set of circumstances."

Jones first worked with Goldberg in 1985 on "The Color Purple," which he co-produced along with Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall.

"We have a very special relationship from 'The Color Purple' and I think that feeling will transcend anything else," Jones said, in reference to the tepid reviews Goldberg received from some critics on her first hosting go-round.

The show's director will be Jeff Margolis, who has directed the telecast for the past eight years. Gilbert Cates, who has been the show's producer for the past six years, recently told the academy that he wanted to take a year off from his producing duties.

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