This year’s Academy Awards Best Picture presenters were going to be Harrison Ford and Glenn Close, in an “Air Force One” reunion. The “Presenting Duo Reunion” was one of the themes of the 95th Oscars, as “Jungle Cruise” stars Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson presented the first award, Best Animated Feature, to “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” — and “Four Weddings and a Funeral” headliners Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell presented Best Production Design to “All Quiet on the Western Front”.
Some duos of more recent releases also had presenting duties, including “Creed III”‘s Michael B. Jordan & Jonathan Majors, “Glass Onion”‘s Janelle Monae & Kate Hudson, “Avatar: The Way of Water”‘s Sigourney Weaver & Zoe Saldana and the lead voice actors of “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”, Antonio Banderas & Salma Hayek.
On Sunday morning, it was revealed that Close tested positive for COVID, basically on the third anniversary of the pandemic shutting down the entertainment industry and forever changing society. So Ford flew solo for Best Picture duties on Sunday night, awarding “Everything Everywhere All at Once” its seventh Oscar of the evening.
This was the third time Ford presented the Best Picture Academy Award. The first time was in 1994, to Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List”. The second was in 1999, semi-controversially to “Shakespeare in Love”, over Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan”. On all three occasions, Ford has presented by himself.
The record-holder for most Best Picture presentations is Jack Nicholson, with eight. Most recently, he and Michelle Obama presented it to “Argo”, at the 2013 Oscars. Nicholson’s first was in 1972, to “The French Connection”, followed by two years in a row in ’77 and ’78, to icons “Rocky” and “Annie Hall”, respectively. Next was in 1990 with Warren Beatty for “Driving Miss Daisy”, followed by solo honors to “Unforgiven” in ’93, memorable solo honors to “Crash” in 2006, and the very next year with Diane Keaton to “The Departed”, a film in which Nicholson starred!
In second position behind Nicholson is a tie, with four each, between Beatty (who infamously joined Faye Dunaway on stage in 2017 and 2018) and Audrey Hepburn. With three each are Elizabeth Taylor, Spielberg and now Ford. MPAA President Eric Johnston presented two years in a row, in 1946 and 1947, to “The Lost Weekend” and “The Best Years of Our Lives”. The only other two-time presenters are Dunaway, Gary Cooper, Sidney Poitier, Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, Michael Douglas, Barbra Streisand and Tom Hanks.
We’ll see over the next several years (especially heading into the 100th Oscars in 2027) who adds to their totals or joins this prestigious list.