Oscars 2024 Producers Break Down John Cena's Nude Moment: 'We Made Sure' He 'Looked Like a Ken Doll Up Front'

According to producers of the 96th Academy Awards, presenter John Cena’s nudity onstage had to follow precise specifications

<p>Frank Micelotta/Disney via Getty</p> John Cena at the Academy Awards March 10

Frank Micelotta/Disney via Getty

John Cena at the Academy Awards March 10

John Cena left little to the imagination while onstage at the Oscars on Sunday. But according to a show producer, the presenter’s nudity stuck to the most precise possible specifications.

“We made sure that, for all intents and purposes, he looked like a Ken doll up front,” Walt Disney Television executive VP Rob Mills told Variety.

Cena’s “crack,” he added, “was covered in the back and then the envelope was Velcro-ed on there so it wouldn’t fall. But beyond that, he was naked.”

Per Mills, “a bulge cannot be showing, and you can’t show crack” when it comes to the Federal Communications Commission’s rules about what can be shown on live television. “It was also, ’What happens if he drops that card?’ ”

Related: John Cena Wasn't Actually Naked at the 2024 Oscars — See the Backstage Pics That Prove It

The wrestler-actor, 46 — who, fittingly enough, starred in the hit Barbie as a Ken doll merman — joined ceremony host Jimmy Kimmel onstage for an homage to the infamous onstage streaker of the 1974 Oscars. Appearing au naturel to present the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, the Birkenstock sandal-clad Cena had only the category’s envelope covering his crotch.

<p>Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty</p> John Cena backstage at the Academy Awards March 10

Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty

John Cena backstage at the Academy Awards March 10

According to Mills, the exact amount of Cena’s skin to be shown was a subject of contention between ABC ceremony producers and the FCC. “There was a lot of reticence of not just a fine from the FCC, but potential complaints,” the producer said.

The standards and practices executives "were sweating" according to Molly McNearney.

“I think at the end we all got to a spot where we were comfortable, S&P [standards and practices] was comfortable, and it didn’t compromise the comedy a bit,” said McNearney, an executive producer of the Oscars ceremony and Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Related: Who Is Jimmy Kimmel's Wife? All About Molly McNearney

“I was very thankful that we didn’t have to send [Cena] out there in tighty whities, which I’m sure legal would have preferred.”

When the Ricky Stanicky star appeared onstage with only the envelope, social media was abuzz with debates about how much, if any, clothing was behind it.

“That’s what I wanted!” McNearney told Variety. “Maybe it’s not what [the FCC’s standards and practices team] wanted. That’s definitely what I want!”

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty Images</p> Jimmy Kimmel and John Cena at the Academy Awards March 10

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Jimmy Kimmel and John Cena at the Academy Awards March 10

The 2024 Oscar for Best Costume Design went to Holly Waddington of Poor Things. Cena handed her the trophy in a makeshift toga that was hastily tied on during the category’s presentation montage.

"You have to do those embarrassing moments on screen where you're asked to give of yourself and be vulnerable,” Cena recently told PEOPLE, “whether it's dressed as a merman, whether it's in your tighty whities or in a Britney Spears outfit — you've got to wholeheartedly commit.”

He added that often, "confidence and foolish courage is all you need.”

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<p>Richard Harbaugh/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty</p> John Cena and Holly Waddington backstage at the Academy Awards March 10

Richard Harbaugh/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty

John Cena and Holly Waddington backstage at the Academy Awards March 10

Related: Barbie's John Cena Praises Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie After Oscar Snubs: They ‘Changed a Lot of Lives' (Exclusive)

Another viral moment during the 96th Oscars — supporting actor nominee Ryan Gosling’s show-stopping and star-studded rendition of “I’m Just Ken” from Barbie — was in the works for months, according to Mills. 

“You could just see in every rehearsal and everything that this was a moment he never wanted to miss,” he told Variety.

Although Barbie did not receive the Oscar for costume design, it totaled eight nominations at Sunday's 96th Academy Awards. The Greta Gerwig-directed movie ultimately won in the Best Original Song category for Billie Eilish and Finneas' song "What Was I Made For?"

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