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OSCAR WATCH: What's New, Burt Bacharach?

Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Musical synergy, perhaps?

Easy-listening Burt Bacharach and rockin' Don Was have been tapped as musical directors for this year's Academy Awards ceremony. This is the first Oscar appointment for the veteran composers. Bacharach has won three Academy Awards - including two for his work for 1969's "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", and one for "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," the Oscared Best Original Song from 1981's "Arthur."

Don Was was the creative spirit behind Was (Not Was), which scored intermittent hits on the pop charts throughout the 1980s, including "Walk the Dinosaur." The Grammy-winning Was went on to produce such award-winning hits as the k.d. lang and Roy Orbison duet "Crying" and the B-52s' booty-shaking anthem "Love Shack."

Bacharach and Was have never before collaborated. This leads to the inevitable question: Will the Oscar-night orchestra be playing electric 12-string Fenders -- or trumpets, saxophones and synthesizers?

NEW LOOK? Emmy Award-winning production designer Robert Keene has been tapped to design the telecast sets for the Academy Awards, to be broadcast live March 26 on ABC.

This is the second time Keene's name has been associated with the awards. His first foray was with the 65th Academy Awards in 1992.

Keene has won two Emmys. His TV design credits include such major galas as the Grammys, Emmys and Tonys. As for the Oscars, Keene vows to "create a very different show."

We thought that's what the Bacharach-Was pairing ensured.

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