By Steve Pond
Tina Fey is the latest presenter to be announced for the 84th Academy Awards, and the third Oscar announcement to come on a very busy Friday for news from the Academy.
The news that the “30 Rock” creator and star would appear on the show follows the earlier announcements that Cirque du Soleil would perform on the show, and that Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy would serve as presenters.
With comic actor Ben Stiller announced as a presenter on Thursday, it seems clear that producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer are following the path described last August by then-producer Brett Ratner – who, before he self-destructed in a blaze of intemperate comments and resigned from his job as producer, made it clear that his guiding principle would be “make ‘em laugh.”
“I think comedy is the key,” he told TheWrap at the time. “If people can sit in that theater and laugh, and people can watch at home around the world and laugh, then I’ve accomplished what I want to do.”
The current list of Oscar presenters includes a number of actors known for drama (Halle Berry, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich), but it is also long on performers best-known for lighter moments: Fey, Stiller, the Muppets, Bradley Cooper, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Emma Stone and “Bridesmaids” cast members Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Wendy McLendon-Covey and Kristen Wiig.
The announcement that Fey would appear on the show was the third to come from the Academy on Friday, but the first to come in a typical AMPAS way. The Cirque du Soleil release was sent out at the unconventional hour of 3 a.m. Pacific time, while the Muppets release was sent to press by ABC an hour and a half before it was sent out by the Academy.