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It’s the most glamorous Hollywood red carpet event of the year, so it makes perfect sense that there’s a Scouser running this year’s Oscar ceremony.
Liverpool-born film producer Lynette Howell Taylor is one of two women to land the enormous task of producing the 92nd Academy Awards show which takes place in Los Angeles in the early hours of Monday morning UK time.
Lynette was chosen for the top (and top pressure) job after picking up a Best Picture nomination herself last year for A Star Is Born, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.
This time the LIPA graduate will be behind the scenes, creating the show which will be seen by hundreds of millions of film fans worldwide and televised live to more than 225 countries.
The 40-year-old grew up in Liverpool and Wirral and went on to gain a management degree from LIPA, juggling three jobs including working as an usher at the Empire to fund her studies.
Although she actually might have taken a very different route if it hadn’t been for a lucky rejection before her career had even started.
Loving performing in school and youth theatre plays, she applied to join LIPA’s acting course, but didn’t make the cut. Instead, the head of drama passed her application on to the head of the music, theatre and entertainment management, she landed a place and never looked back.
Now living in Los Angeles with her partner Graham and three young children, she’s racked up more than 30 film credits including Ryan Gosling movies Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines.
Lynette was announced as the co-producer for the 2020 Oscars, alongside US producer Stephanie Allain, back in November and said that after watching the awards for as long as she could remember: “To be given the opportunity to produce the show is a dream.”
So, what does the woman who grew up putting on shows with her brothers and sisters in her back garden in Liverpool, have lined up for the biggest, most glitzy night in the celebrity calendar?
She says diversity – even if there’s been a controversial lack of it in the nominations – will be a major focus in the choice of presenters and performers, and there’ll be a tribute to former basketball icon (and Oscar winner) Kobe Bryant who died with his daughter in a helicopter crash last month.
One of the toughest tasks, she says, has been just getting everything in place in time. This year’s ceremony is two weeks earlier in February than 2019’s so Lynette admits, even though there’ll be no host again, the deadlines have been tight.
“The nominations were only announced on January 13 so it’s an incredibly short window,” she explains. “What the producers did last year was great. It created a fast-paced show and there’s more of a spotlight on the presenters and the awards, so we wanted take that idea and build on that.”
Presenters so far announced include Timothée Chalamet, Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Mindy Kaling, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mahershala Ali and last year’s Best Actress winner Olivia Colman. There’ll be live music from artists including Billie Eilish and Janelle Monae.
Lynette reveals there will also be a unique performance from the soundtrack of the film Frozen 2, bringing together the world’s Elsa’s for the first time.
“Frozen 2 has been dubbed into 46 languages and I’m so excited we were able to bring in 9 of the incredible singers from around the globe to join Idina Menzel for a special performance of Into the Unknown.”
While Lynette is busy backstage, there will be two more Scousers nervously waiting in the audience to find out if they’ll be collecting one of the famous gold statuettes.
Lee Sandales from Gateacre is nominated for Best Production Design for the war epic 1917 and director Chris Butler from Maghull is up for Best Animated Feature Film for his Golden Globe winning movie Missing Link.
By Dawn Collinson
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