UCLA Insiders Dish on Working the Oscars


By Karen Lefkowitz

Published Feb 22, 2007 10:34 AM

When the 79th Annual Academy Awards broadcast this Sunday, February 25, a small army will be working behind the scenes to help make the always-elaborate show a star-studded success. Among them are UCLA alumni Bob Reneau '84 and Pamela Oas Williams '86.

Bob Reneau: On the Red Carpet

After graduating from UCLA with a B.A. in English literature, Reneau took a part-time job on staff at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. That evolved into a full-time gig as assistant programs coordinator. Come Oscars Sunday, Reneau is busiest before and after the telecast, helping orchestrate the everything's-got-to-be-perfect events for the many luminaries who attend.

"I work the arrivals tent on the red carpet, helping the nominees and their guests get in with no trouble," he reveals. "After the show, I will be working the Governors Ball, making sure everything goes smoothly for our guests."

Reneau also helps produce public events throughout the year for the Academy, including screening series, lectures and a twice-yearly, three-day seminar on media literacy for Los Angeles high school students.

Pamela Oas Williams: The Nominees Are...

A communications major at UCLA, Williams dreamed of being a lawyer. Then a college internship at NBC showed her that she could enjoy herself and earn a living in television, and her plans for a legal career were shelved. Williams is now producer, with Laura Ziskin, of the Oscars pre-show Road to the Oscars, a half-hour special that precedes the Oscars broadcast.

"It looks like it could be pretty simple, but what's complicated about this show is that it is its own entity," Williams said. Extensive prep work and research are required to assure that the show is packed with information about the celebrities it profiles.

"We create two hours of content before the ceremony airs," she said. "When we conduct red carpet interviews we like to have more background information so that we can highlight the nominees, find out what led them here, the story behind the story."

From famous actors to less-known nominees for costume design and writing, Road to the Oscars aims to give viewers a close-up of each nominee, said Williams. "Our hope is that by the time each category is announced the audience cares about the competition."



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