Things to watch out for (besides the show) on Oscar night
Beyond the trophies, plenty of controversies (will Franco show?) and mysteries (will Guillermo mention us?) to consume the average Academy Awards viewer.
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For millions of viewers, the Academy Awards go well beyond ‘Who wins what?’ Honestly, who knows — or cares — about the difference between Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing?
No, it’s also hugely about the glamour and the fashion — including the schadenfreude-inducing failures (Bjork’s swan dress in 2001 comes to mind) — and the gossip.
And there will be plenty of time to devote to such considerations: televised Oscar coverage starts at 1 p.m. Sunday with Countdown to the Oscars Live! on ABC and eTalk’s Ultimate Oscar Guide on CTV (both channels broadcast the big event) and continues, on one channel or another, right up to the 8 p.m. start of the big show itself.
So here are some of the things Oscar watchers will be watching for besides the actual awards.
- Plenty of snubs already took place when the nominations were revealed with yet more to come to when the actual awards are announced. But Ryan Seacrest, as co-host of E!’s pre-Oscars red carpet show, is facing the real prospect of being publicly shunned after being accused by his former stylist of sexual misconduct. Although E! cleared him after an internal investigation, there’s a better than fair-to-middling chance some stars are going to give him the cold shoulder on their way inside.
- According to unnamed sources quoting “friends” and “insiders,” James Franco desperately wants to go to the Oscars. He was nominated for Best Actor by the Screen Actors Guild for his performance in The Disaster Artist but reportedly lost significant support between the nomination date and the Jan. 18 SAG Awards as a result of five women coming forward with sexual misconduct allegations. But the film is up for Best Adapted Screenplay and “friends” say Franco really wants to support the film he directed, co-wrote and co-produced. He went to the SAG fest. So will he crash the Oscars?
- After last year’s unforgettable mixed-up envelope fiasco — which briefly threw millions of Oscars pools into chaos when the wrong Best Picture winner was declared, before some frantic behind-the-scenes action resulted in the error being rectified onstage — some (such as TMZ) are speculating that Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the red-faced presenters stuck with that hot potato, will make a special appearance onstage.
- The #Metoo movement began in Hollywood with scores of accusations against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, and has since gone international and spread to numerous other fields. Presenters and winners, especially women, will have their chance in the spotlight to decry the scourge of sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry. Who will be the most (and least) eloquent? Will someone take the opportunity to name names and drop another bombshell about producer X, director Y or actor Z? We’re all ears.
- Host Jimmy Kimmel has an edgy style of humour — not Ricky Gervais-edgy, but it does at least flirt with danger. So for his second appearance as Oscar host, which sacred cows are Kimmel’s bullish wit going to gore? Will he risk a one-liner about the #Metoo movement or would that be too edgy too soon? TV viewers will be listening closely to see how dark Kimmel will go to get laughs. No matter how well the host’s riskier material might go over with the folks at home, the live audience of celebrities in Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre could be another story.
- Trump and guns. Both issues are red-hot-button issues right now and the Oscars have historically used been a soapbox for political causes. So who’s going to speak out (or lash out) at the orange-headed commander-in-chief or take aim at the NRA (National Rifle Association)? Cue the outrage and the outraged reaction to the outrage.
- Guillermo del Toro is the odds-on favourite to win Best Director for his stylish sci-fi/romance mashup The Shape of Water. Del Toro loves to wax eloquent about his adopted hometown (Toronto) and much of the film was shot here (and down the road in Hamilton). Will he give Hogtown a shout-out? Our fragile egos await his beneficent blessing.
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