That’s right, folks. We’re less than 24 hours away from the event, the extravaganza if you will, and Cultural Learnings is all about informing everyone about who to watch, what will win, and which spoilers to look out for. It’s all about Hollywood’s best (aka Hollywood’s most well represented and advertised) on Sunday night, so I’ll be coming to you with two separate events here on the blog which will be linked below.
First, I’ve posted my entire Oscar predictions on Saturday evening. Then, on Sunday, I’ll be live-blogging from 3rd Floor lounge to bring you all the latest from the awards (So if you want to watch The Amazing Race at 9, you can catch up here at Cultural Learnings). It’s an epic dual-post extravaganza that starts tonight, so stay tuned!
Part One: Official Predictions
Part Two: Live Blogging Extravaganza (Coming Sunday Evening!)
The 79th Annual Academy Awards: A Preview
When: 8:30pm EST on ABC (CTV in Canada)
Host: Ellen Degeneres
It’s Ellen’s first time hosting the Oscars, and she’s on a bit of a personal roll at this point. She was sitting front and centre at the Grammys, despite little to no connection to the music world. Her talk show remains buzzworthy, continuing to provide the kind of entertainment that appeals to housewives and younger viewers alike. Unlike Jon Stewart, who drew some political lines in the proverbial Hollywood sands, Ellen is the kind of host eho everyone can get behind with little difficulty. I’m pretty sure most people have even forgotten that she’s gay.
As far as her performance goes, I think we’re in for a generally funny hosting job. She’s capable of picking up on spontaneous moments in a meaningful way, and I think that she is generally well-liked in Hollywood and should get a good reaction from the stars in the Kodak Theatre. Here’s hoping for a strong opening monologue, which to be entirely honest with you is one of the weaker elements of her show. While I think she’s capable of some strong stand-up stuff (Her Broadway special makes me laugh quite hard), we don’t really see it on daytime. Here’s hoping that primetime brings out a bit more life in Ellen’s monologue-age.
Who will be receiving the coveted gift baskets of plenty this year? As usual, it’s those who perhaps don’t need anything in them, although there are some younger names on this list being recognized at the very least for their contributions to film in the past year. Abigail Breslin and Jaden Smith represent the youngsters, James McAvoy and Emily Blunt the British invasion, as well as your usual requisite Hollywood elite (Nicholson, Streep, Hanks), your comedians (Carell, Farrell, Seinfeld) and of course your hipster politico (Gore). There’s also rumours headed around about Spielberg/Lucas/Ford Coppola joining the clan, although this is all unconfirmed.
Full List of Presenters:
Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Leonardo DiCaprio. Robert Downey, Jr., Gael Garcia Bernal, Emily Blunt, Catherine Deneuve, Al Gore, James McAvoy, Jerry Seinfeld, Greg Kinnear, Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Ken Watanabe, Naomi Watts, John Travolta, Jodie Foster, Queen Latifah, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Diane Keaton, Jessica Biel, Abigail Breslin, Jaden Smith, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Winslet, Ben Affleck, Cate Blanchett, Steve Carell, Penelope Cruz, Tom Hanks, Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Will Ferrell, George Clooney, Cameron Diaz, Eva Green, Hugh Jackman.
Best Original Song Performances
Every year we see various performances; last year’s were on the whole quite embarassing, from the odd interpretive dance version of Into the Blue from Crash to the strange decision to place Dolly Parton on a stage entirely by herself for her performance. Of course, it was the Three Six Mafia performance that was perhaps most uncanny, if well-performed. And, of course, their victory was a highlight, and this year doesn’t appear to offer quite the same uncanny nature.
If anything, it’s going to be the “Dreamgirls” show. While Eddie Murphy won’t be performing, the rest of the cast (Beyonce, Hudson, Rose, etc.) will all be taking the stage in a celebration of three of the film’s original songs brought in to compliment the original broadway material. It’s clear that it will be Dreamgirls’ stage for the night, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll be the only ones taking the stage. Melissa Etheridge will perform her song from “An Inconvenient Truth,” and Randy Newman will as always take to the stage (And likely to his piano) to help perform his nominated song from “Cars” with its original performer James Taylor.
What’s On TV other than these dratted Awards Shows?
In case you grow bored of the Oscars during the mid-show lull between major awards, what options do you have?
8pm EST – The Amazing Race (CBS), Grease: You’re The One That I Want (NBC)
9pm EST – Nothing of note.
10pm EST – Battlestar Galactica (SciFi), Crossing Jordan (NBC)
Also, before the awards start, you’ve got the Barbara Walters special as well as 60 Minutes. Barbara Walters promises a chat with Eddie Murphy that, according to Barbara on the The View, was “scandalous”. I’ve always wondered what Barbara Walter considers scandalous.