Regina King admitted during a talk at the Cannes Film Festival this past Friday that she was asked to open the 2020 Oscars a mere 24 hours before the ceremony began.
“I knew I was presenting and the category, and then they said the category would be up first,” she told Variety during a “Kering Women In Motion” talk at the festival. “And then I thought, ‘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.”
She said she ran to speak with ceremony producer Steven Soderbergh, who gave her a script to memorize in just one day. As stressful as it was, Regina called Soderbergh “a great coach,” and the resulting introduction, which found Regina grabbing an Oscar from a red carpet table outside of Union Station and running it into the building, went off without a hitch.
“Steven believed in me, and I thought, ‘Alright, I can do it,” she said. Soderbergh did suggest that Regina King wear comfortable shoes for the opening, to which she replied: “It’s the Oscars! Of course I don’t have good shoes. 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.”