The trailer for Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake debuted during the 2021 Oscars broadcast Sunday night. In an alternate universe, the film would have been a major player at the 93rd Academy Awards, but Disney delayed the film until Dec. 10, 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the original film adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.
West Side Story was first a Broadway hit in 1957, with Laurents, Bernstein, and Sonheim loosely basing the story on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In 1961, the play became one of the best film musicals ever made, winning the Best Picture Oscar. Rita Moreno, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the film, will appear in a supporting role in Spielberg's remake. Tony Kushner, who previously worked with Spielberg on Lincoln, wrote the new script.
The rest of the main cast for the 2021 version includes Rachel Zegler as Maira, Ansel Elgort as Tony, Ariana DeBose as Anita, and David Alvarez as Bernardo. Corey Stoll, Mike Faist, Brian d'Arcy James, and Curtiss Cook also star. DeBose was tapped to introduce the trailer during the broadcast.
The Oscars used to not include movie trailers during the broadcast, but that changed for this year. As AdWeek reported last week, Lin-Manuel Miranda was also asked to introduce a trailer for his upcoming film, In The Heights. Questlove, who also serves as the Oscars musical director, is introducing a trailer for his documentary, Summer of Soul.
For those who have not seen the original West Side Story, the film will kick off the virtual 2021 TCM Film Festival on Thursday, May 6. It will air on TCM that night at 8 p.m. ET and will also be available on HBO Max. The broadcast will start with a virtual cast reunion, featuring Moreno, George Chakiris, and Russ Tamblyn. The reunion will also be available on HBO Max.
The 1961 West Side Story was 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Chakiris), Best Supporting Actress, Best Color Art Direction, Best Color Cinematography, Best Color Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Scoring, and Best Sound. Co-director and choreographer Jerome Robbins also received an honorary Oscar.