Congratulations to Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum John Zuiker ’05, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre Design, who was the art director for the 95th Academy Awards ceremony presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The 2023 Oscars show, broadcast live on ABC, was well-received by audiences and industry observers alike. As Owen Gleiberman reported in the film industry trade publication Variety: “[The] 95th Academy Awards telecast made a game attempt to rectify the mishaps of the past few years — the ratings slippage, the pared-down-like-a-skeleton-in-a-train-station 2021 edition, the debacle of The Slap — by bringing back something that we might call Oscar Classic. It was safe, it was familiar, it was tasteful, it was reassuring. It didn’t rock the boat, it didn’t overstay its welcome (actually, that marks sort of a break from Oscar Classic), and it left you feeling that the world’s preeminent awards show, all doom-saying punditry to the contrary, is still, on balance, a very good thing.” And the showbiz news site TVLine declared: “The set design was immaculate, with the Oscars stage bathed in gilded, Great Gatsby-style glamour.”
Zuiker, who launched his design career in Chicago – where he won a 2010 Joseph Jefferson Award, Chicago theatre’s top prize, for his scenic design for Bohemian Theatre Ensemble’s production I Am My Own Wife – has racked up an impressive string of credits since he relocated to California. His recent art direction credits include the 2020 Oscars show, the 2021 Golden Globe Awards, the 2021 season of America’s Got Talent, and the 2022 special Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music & Laughter, which celebrated the 100th birthday of legendary TV producer Norman (All in the Family) Lear.