Event production lessons from the 2014 Academy Awards

2014 Academy Awards

2014 Academy Awards

Here at the R&B Group we help to produce some of the country’s largest events, but we haven’t yet been asked to help run events as large as the Academy Awards! That doesn’t mean that we’re not interested in the event production of these huge international events – on the contrary, we like to pay close attention to what works and what doesn’t on such a large scale. You’d be surprised at how many common event management and event production mistakes occur regardless of the size of the event. This means we can take some event production lessons from the 86th Academy Awards and consider how we can apply what we’ve learnt to the events that we organise on a weekly basis.


Schedule clashes

This year’s Oscars ceremony was delayed by a week in order to avoid a clash with the Sochi Winter Olympics. This approach was also taken in 2006 and 2010, in order to ensure that there was no conflict between the broadcast of the two events. The television audience for this year’s Academy Awards was the largest since 2000, with nearly 44 million viewers. It’s unclear whether the week’s delay had anything to do with the larger audience, but it’s still a thoughtful move.

Lesson: Don’t make a point of competing directly with other events that your guests might be interested in. Attendance may suffer, and you’ll just come across as selfish rather than good-natured.


Last-minute changes

The expected highlight of the Oscars for young Miles Scott, a cancer survivor, was to be introduced on stage as a new superhero – ‘batkid.’ However, despite the segment being rehearsed the day before the show, it was removed from the ceremony’s schedule only hours before it got underway. Scott’s moment of fame was meant to be part of his Make-A-Wish superhero day, but the Academy’s decision robbed him of that once in a lifetime opportunity. It later emerged that he was treated to a day at Disneyland with Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield instead.

Lesson: Only make last-minute changes to the schedule if you really have to, particularly if you’d already announced certain segments prior to the event itself. You’ll disappoint more people than you expect to, and could risk the reputation of your event



Ellen DeGeneres hosting style earned plenty of plaudits. DeGeneres introduced a generous amount of improv comedy and an informal tone that seemed surprisingly suited to Hollywood’s annual celebration of film.

Lesson: An informal tone is not always better – but it usually is! Don’t take yourself too seriously. Chances are, everyone at the event wants to have a good time and not become bored within the first half-an-hour.



If John Travolta was to be believed, Adele Dazeem won Best Original Song. Quite how Travolta managed such a chronic mispronunciation of Idina Menzel, we may never know. There might as well have been another name on the card. His blunder attracted plenty of attention on Twitter and threatened to overshadow Menzel’s win.

Lesson: Ensure your host and presenters know how to pronounce any names, places or company names that they have to read out, or it could prove embarrassing for all involved.


Wider participation

Ellen’s ‘selfie’ – taken with a dozen Hollywood A-listers – was uploaded to Twitter and obliterated the record for the most retweets. In fact, given that DeGeneres is one of Twitter’s most entertaining celebrities, it achieved huge levels of online buzz from those watching at home.

Lesson: You can increase the reach of your event by utilising live streaming video production technology and social media. Use an official hashtag for your event to keep track of audience feedback.

If you want some expert event planning, equipment hire and set design assistance for your upcoming event, regardless of whether or not it rivals the Oscars for scale glamour, speak to us now!