Considering what a pickle they were in only a week ago, I admire the efficiency with which the Academy is moving forward with their Oscarcast plans -- with new producer Brian Grazer and host Billy Crystal in place, Oscar-winning production designer John Myhre is now on board to literally set the stage for the event. (It's a nifty coincidence that this news should land on the same day Gerard covers the Best Art Direction race in Tech Support.)

And I must say, I'm fully down with this choice. As with Grazer, there's something classy about bringing a previous winner into the fold to design the show that has been so good to him in the past -- it suggests to me that their show, a little like Bill Condon's 2008 ceremony, will be grounded in a strong, affectionate sense of Academy tradition.

But that's not the only reason Myhre's a canny choice for the gig: between "Chicago" (for which he won his first Oscar), "Dreamgirls" and "Nine" (both of which earned him nominations), he has proved himself a specialist in specifically designing and adapting stage settings for the screen. He's ideally qualified to balance concerns of how performers will use the space and how it'll play to viewers at home.

Myhre has also been recognized by the Academy for "Elizabeth" and "Memoirs of a Geisha" (for which he landed his second statuette). He could feasibly earn a sixth this year for "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," his latest effort for loyal collaborator Rob Marshall (who, come to think of it, would make a pretty good Oscar producer himself one day). Though the franchise has been recognized in the category before, I sense, as with Grazer, that a conflict of interest is unlikely to arise.

The Academy's press release:

Beverly Hills, CA – Academy Award®-winning production designer John Myhre will design the 84th Academy Awards®, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. This will be the first time Myhre has served as production designer for the Oscars®.

"John is a prolific production designer, who has created some of the most intriguing sets that we've ever seen," said Grazer and Mischer. "His cinematic perspective will be a great contribution to our team dynamic and the show itself."

Myhre won Academy Awards in the Art Direction category in 2002 for "Chicago" and in 2005 for "Memoirs of a Geisha." He has three additional Oscar nominations for his work on "Elizabeth" (1998), "Dreamgirls" (2006) and "Nine" (2009). Myhre's other production design credits include "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Wanted," "Ali" and "X-Men."

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide. 

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