When it comes to Oscar night, the biggest questions ahead of time are who will be best dressed and who will be a hot mess on the red carpet, and who will win what. But this year the questions are more varied and unpredictable.
For the first time in decades, Hollywood’s circus will not have a ringleader. Yes, there are rumors Whoopi Goldberg was off The View this week preparing to be a surprise host. I’m not buying it. First, her co-hosts said she was down with severe respiratory disease. And while, yes, co-hosts have been known to lie and cover for their friends, I believe them. Mainly because it takes months, not just a few days, to put together a routine for hosting.
Theoretically an announcer will introduce presenters and the show will go along. I would look for a Hollywood Icon to come out at the top of the show and make some remarks, but no singing, dancing, and minimal comedy.
Theoretically, without a host, the show should move along faster and end before the morning news starts on the east coast. But that could just be wishful thinking.
Several musical acts are booked. Some, like Bette Midler, will perform nominated works in the Original Song category. But the Academy also booked in Adam Lambert and Queen. Obviously they’re tying it in to the much nominated film Bohemian Rhapsody. But none of the songs are nominated (they’re all decades old!)
Plus there will likely be a long cold open before we go live into the theater. And there will be plenty of taped pieces. It was a tough year in Hollywood, so look for an extra-long in memorium.
The Great Eight
And each of the eight films nominated for Best Picture will get an intro. The theme of the show is Movies That Connect Us. So Hollywood outsiders, including some former insiders, will present the nominees.
Serena Williams will introduce A Star Is Born. She will likely be joined by Barbara Streisand. No matter how long ago she won them, a two-time Oscar winner will never be a Hollywood outsider!
Dana Carvey and Mike Myers are on the call sheet. They’ll likely intro Bohemian Rhapsody. They rocked out to it in their own movie, Wayne’s World.
Other presenters include Queen Latifah, Trevor Noah, Amandla Stenberg, Tom Morello, Chef Jose Andres, and Congressman John Lewis.
Pop Art? Or Art For The Sake of Art?
Three commercially successful and critically acclaimed movies are up. Black Panther got its nomination, and is the first of the superhero genre to break through. Will that be enough of a win? Or will it actually win? Spoiler Alert: No.
Bohemian Rhapsody continues its shocking (at least to this critic) run of success. This movie reminds me of The Iron Lady. A strong, award worthy performance in an otherwise mess of a film. Just because you can sing along to most of the movie doesn’t make it a good film.
The strongest contender of the popular films is A Star Is Born. But it’s a remake of a remake of a remake. It’s also lost a lot of steam since it floored the world at the Toronto International Film Festival. Lady Gaga may win for Original Song (tho she didn’t nab the Golden Globe), but Glenn Close will win Best Actress and the movie will be overlooked.
While I’d love to see Green Book win, the Oscar will likely go to Roma, reinforcing the perception of Hollywood snobbery.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
A Bottle of 2013 Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut wine. It honors a legend with great taste and, unlike the Oscars, is guaranteed to finish great!