Regina King is attending the Cannes Film Festival, where she spoke at the Kering Women in Motion Talk.
During the conversation, the actor-director discussed her role at the 2021 Academy Awards, where she dramatically opened the show.
Opening the Oscars, however, was something she didn’t learn she’d be doing until 24 hours before the show started.
Speaking with Variety executive editor Ramin Setoodeh, King explained how it all went down.
“I literally found out about that being the case the day before,” she said.
“You didn’t know you were opening the Oscars?” asked Setoodeh.
“I knew I was presenting and I knew the category I was presenting,” she replied.
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“And then they said my category would be up first. So I was like, ‘Oh, they’re really changing things!’ Then I got another call saying, ‘Well, it’s going to be a little more than your category starting first; we would like you to open the show.’ And I was like, ‘Open the show? I’m sorry. Open the show?’ That’s a lot of pressure. I talked to [ceremony producer] Steven [Soderbergh], we Zoomed, he laid it down, they sent a script, we worked on it. I was like, ‘Wow this is a lot to take in 24 hours before,’ and he said, ‘But you can do it!’” she continued.
In the opening, King plucks an Oscar from a table on the red carpet outside Union Station — this year’s location for the ceremony — and then walks inside the building, captured live in one continuous shot.
The April 26 Oscar ceremony opened with a minute-long segment of King grabbing an Oscar from a table on the red carpet outside of Union Station, and striding into the building, all while a camera caught her every move.
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“Steven believed in me, and I felt like, ‘Alright, I can do it.’”
Soderbergh also sent her an email advising her to wear “good shoes.”
“I said, ‘It’s the Oscars! I’m wearing a gown, of course I don’t have good shoes,'” she joked.
“But I brought the shoes to rehearsal and when I saw the distance — we call it a country mile — I was happy I had on the most comfortable shoes possible for the moment,” said King of her six-inch Stuart Weitzman heels.
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“[Stuart Weitzman] makes the best shoes if you have to walk a country mile in six-inch heels you want a heel with a little platform,” she added. “I gave it to God and said, ‘Let’s go.’ I walked it once for the rehearsal and once for the show.”
King can be seen discussing the Oscars just after the 13:20 mark in the video above.