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72nd Academy Awards - March 26, 2000

Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA


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According to all the e-mail coming in, Coyote fans are ecstatic over his performance at the Academy Awards Sunday night. Producers Richard and Lili Zanuck wanted the best and they got the best! He beamed with confidence and charm as the "Voice of Oscar" and in front of millions of viewers, he was flawless and fabulous! Caryn James of The New York Times commented that "the announcer used to be a disembodied voice; this year Peter Coyote was shown backstage, a move that played to the viewers' sense of being insiders." I believe that was most people's sentiment. Rarely do we get the chance to see these stars away from the bright lights mingling and sharing congratulations with one another. The brief camera shot of Roberto Benigni and Coyote was priceless!

So congratulations and hats off to Peter for an outstanding job never missing a beat. Family, friends and fans who watched around the world were so proud!

Many of you may have been watching E! Entertainment and saw Peter interviewed by Joan Rivers as he walked up the red carpet to the Shrine Auditorium accompanied by his fiancée, Stefanie Pleet, (on his left in the silver gown). Many thanks to Marie Kitchen of Kentucky for her contribution of these photos and video clips!

Asprey & Garrard, British Crown Jeweler by Royal Appointment, once again loaned their jewelry to the stars such as Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie and Hillary Swank. And Peter himself sported some pricey items - 18kt yellow gold & sapphire studs, $5,895, 18kt yellow gold & sapphire cufflinks $8,650, and 18kt yellow gold Patek Phillipe with black dial, $12,500.

Los Angeles Times, 3/28:

Several new devices were woven into the broadcast by executive producers Richard and Lili Zanuck, including the often-seen and often-heard "Voice of the Oscars," actor Peter Coyote. Some wondered why the actor, who has appeared in films such as E.T., Jagged Edge and the current hit Erin Brockovich, was positioned as a mere announcer.

"I'm really flattered," said a tired but exhilarated Coyote, still jubilant a day after his stint. "I would do it again in a hot minute. Most of the time when the Oscars come around, I'm in a motel working, or I would be hosting a 'sore losers' Oscar party. So it was really nice to be asked to the dance. And the Zanucks actually booked me before they booked Billy Crystal to host."

Coyote, who has become a frequent voice-over presence on commercials, added he was uncertain whether he would be shown during the show. "I told them, 'I used to have a career as an actor, so it would be nice to be seen.' They told me not to worry. And they meant it. It just can't hurt to have your mug in front of a billion people, and to be associated with the Oscars."


From the Oscars.com web site:

He's a man of many talents - a respected actor, an Emmy award-winning narrator, a distinguished writer, an activist, and a songwriter, guitarist and singer. Now Peter Coyote can add Academy Awards announcer to his impressive list of credits. When Oscar.com conducted a recent interview with the new millennium's Renaissance Man, it was only natural that "The Voice of Oscar" should respond... by e-mail!

Why do you think so many people worldwide tune into the Oscars?

"For historical reasons, America represents the cutting edge of culture, and our icons and media heroes have become the common currency in a global culture. All other film award ceremonies, to some degree, and all other movie stars (perhaps excluding India) are measured in some manner against American film and standards of fame. As a global culture, we are the common denominator that various people around the globe can contact as a way into the cultural moment. And they contact us, they do."

How surreal is it to hear yourself called "The Voice of Oscar?"

"I imagine that Orson Welles must have felt kind of funny after he made so many great films to hear his 'voice' talked about in glowing terms. It's bizarre because you can't take any credit for it. There are lots of great voices out there however, but the Zanucks contacted me because I'm an actor; because I can deal with the complexities of a show a billion people are watching, in the moment, and make the sense of the text live. I'm basically known as a 'one-take' guy in voice-overs. I can do a 30-minute film in a 40-minute session, and that's the kind of accuracy and 'being-on-the-one' quality that a job of this immensity requires. The guy you hear in the theaters that says, 'This is the greatest cinematic event of the century' may have a great voice, but we don't know how many takes it requires for him to get it right. The Zanucks know, and that's why I'm there."

Even though the show is scripted, do you have to expect the unexpected?

"Absolutely. If Christine Lahti walks in with toilet paper stuck to her shoe, I'll be the voice intoning, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Christine Lahti....for Charmin'. Seriously, something always goes wrong, and so you'd better have someone in the booth that can play Jazz."

When the show is over, what are your plans?

"Well, since I live in Northern California, I miss my show-biz friends and this will be the night-of-nights to catch up. My fiancée and manager and I will go to the Governors Ball and all the good parties, and I'll stash enough sushi for the next day's lunch. I'll pitch my movies to the Weinsteins, sell pilots, cast my films, pitch scripts ... you know, do what everyone else in LA does every day, only we'll be in tuxedos."

You're following in the footsteps of one other Academy member who announced the Oscars broadcast - Ronald Reagan. Any plans to become Governor of California after this?

"No, thank you for asking. My plan was to segue directly into the Presidency."


Peter with Executive producer Michael B. Seligman  in the left photo and with Kevin Spacey on the right

Peter with his wife, Stefanie Pleet

"The voice of Oscar"
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The Official Peter Coyote Web Site