It was a gloomy and rainy day in Hollywood but it was all glitz and glam at the Dolby Theatre as some of the biggest names in Hollywood prepared for the 2023 Oscars.
ET was inside at rehearsals for the 95th Academy Awards Saturday, for an exclusive look at Sunday’s show, which saw everyone from presenters and performers to the crew and even stand-in winners perfecting all the last minute details to ensure that everything goes smoothly on the big night.
Mindy Kaling and John Cho nailed their parts after one or two tries, with the pair workshopping their jokes throughout. A discussion of whether to say “the winner is,” or “the Oscar goes to,” was had, with Kaling practicing opening the winner’s envelope as well. While the Velma actress was dressed for the weather in a hoodie and jeans, she took the heels she’ll be wearing at Sunday’s show for a test-run — a tactic all the female presenters employed Saturday, as they got a feel for the stage.
Kate Hudson really put her heels to the test, sliding back and forth across center stage to make sure her silver platform pumps were good to go.
While the stars were presenting in pairs, not all were accompanied by their famous counterparts on Saturday, with Hudson, who is set to present with her Glass Onion co-star, Janelle Monáe, hitting the stage with Monáe’s stand-in.
After the presenters announced the winners in each category, a stand-in recipient took the stage to accept the award and deliver an impassioned speech, which saw them thanking everyone from their fellow nominees, to friends and family and of course, the Academy.
Cardboard cut-outs of the actual nominees and guests were placed in seats throughout the theater, while seat-fillers watched eagerly from the audience.
It wasn’t all trial and error. The presenters had some fun too while working out the kinks. Hugh Grant cracked some jokes while reuniting with his Four Weddings and a Funeral so-star, Andie MacDowell, who sported a chic pair of black reading glasses to better help her see the tiny teleprompter the presenters were reading from.
Andrew Garfield and Florence Pugh also provided some levity, with Garfield shaking off some on-stage jitters by letting out a few laughs the second he hit the stage. And it was contagious, with Pugh working to fight back the giggles herself.
Getting back to the task at hand, Pugh had some advice for her presenting partner for Sunday’s show, “Maybe don’t do that.”
The Little Mermaid stars, Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy were also paired, though McCarthy was not in attendance Saturday morning.
Even with an exclusive look at rehearsals, there were some things even ET was not allowed to see, with press escorted out to the lobby while a special moment was announced. While it’s unclear exactly what that was, best guess is one of the performances. Perhaps, Lady Gaga, who may have had a last second change of heart after it was announced that she won’t be performing her nominated track, “Hold My Hand,” from the soundtrack for the 2022 hit, Top Gun: Maverick, as previously scheduled.
A secret presenter also hit the stage in what could be for the Best Actress category — the category Will Smith would have presented, had he not been banned from the Oscars following last year’s infamous slap.
In addition to star-studded presenters, Academy CEO Bill Kramer was also on hand Saturday to check-in on the run of show, with Academy president, Janet Yang stopping in to get a look at the busy preparations as well.
Upon ET’s return to theater, Halle Berry stepped onstage, where she is set to present alongside Jessica Chastain. She kept her rehearsal short and sweet, getting out in a matter of minutes.
Next up were friends and Creed III co-stars, Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors. The longtime pals dapped each other up as they walked to center stage.
A few adjustments were made to help Jordan better see the prompter, with the pair practicing their lines, and jokes, before nailing things down.
And with that, ET left rehearsals, leaving the slew of A-list presenters and bustling Academy staff to finalize Sunday’s show.
The 2023 Academy Awards hosted by Jimmy Kimmel will air live on Sunday, March 12 starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC. In the meantime, keep checking back into ETonline.com for complete Oscars coverage.
Reporting by Mona Khalifeh.
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