Oscar Preview: Five Big Questions Ahead of Sunday’s Awards | Entertainment News

By JAKE COYLE, AP Movie Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The Academy Awards have constantly beloved a comeback story. This yr, the Oscars are attempting to star in one particular, as well.

On Sunday, the Academy Awards will try to bounce back from a 2021 ceremony that was plagued by pandemic restrictions, a botched ending and report-very low scores. The 94th Academy Awards will return to their usual property, Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre, and be broadcast stay on ABC starting at 8 p.m. EDT. (It’s also probable to stream it are living on products and services like Hulu Reside Tv, YouTubeTV and on ABC.com with supplier authentication.)

How substantially of the Oscars’ downturn really should be chalked up to COVID-19? How a lot is it the new standard? These are just some of the questions that hold about an Academy Awards that feels like a crossroads for just one of America’s most enduring pop-culture establishments, and still the most-watched once-a-year present outdoors the Tremendous Bowl.

Can the Will Packer-produced awards shrug off the pandemic, reverse several years of declining scores for network Television award shows and coalesce a significant-tent occasion for a rapid evolving film landscape? In the interminable operate-up to the springtime Oscars, several in the field have been skeptical. Which potential customers us to the 1st of 5 concerns heading into the present.

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The greatest drama heading into Sunday revolves close to a broadcast that has been substantially retooled to stem the rankings slide. As if making up for various host-a lot less several years, this time there are 3: Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes. Will their put together star electric power transfer the needle at all?

Facing stress from ABC, the academy will also initially present 8 types — generation design and style, enhancing, audio, score, makeup and hairstyling, and the three shorter movie awards — ahead of the telecast commences. Clips of their wins and speeches will be edited into the demonstrate. Critics during the field, though, have lined up to decry the transform. The major union representing powering-the-scenes staff, IATSE, on Monday identified as the decision harmful to the “fundamental purpose” of the Oscars.

So what will Packer do with the extra time? Beyoncé and Billie Eilish will perform their nominated tracks. An eclectic group of presenters has also been declared, like some surprising names like DJ Khaled, Tony Hawk, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Shaun White — so this could finally be the yr that Judi Dench learns how to conduct a “McTwist.”

WILL A STREAMER Acquire Home Greatest Image?

The two favorites both hail from streaming services, which have at any time received ideal photograph. The lead nominee, Jane Campion’s “The Electricity of the Pet,” up for 12 awards, had lengthy been the presumed frontrunner, and potentially Netflix’s ideal likelihood but to gain Hollywood’s leading award. But immediately after back again-to-back again wins with the Display Actors Guild and the Producers Guild, Sian Heder’s deaf family drama “CODA” may possibly have the edge. The film’s deep-pocketed backer, Apple Television+, has expended huge to drive a really feel-very good underdog indie to the front of the pack. If “CODA” wins, it will be the to start with time considering that 1932’s “Grand Hotel” that a film with fewer than four nominations (“CODA” has a few) took best image. Some predictions this calendar year have been wildly off, nevertheless, so other nominees like Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” could still pull off an upset.

HOW Significantly WILL COVID DRAG DOWN THE Social gathering?

Past year’s Oscars decamped to Union Station for an personal present with a modest number of attendees and tons of social distancing. This calendar year, a comprehensive phase clearly show and purple carpet is prepared, albeit with uneven COVID-19 protocols. Attendees are demanded to post two destructive assessments and proof of vaccination. People presenting or performing you should not have to be vaccinated but will need modern destructive tests. Masks will be in the mix, way too, for attendees sitting down exterior the orchestra at the Dolby and for media on the pink carpet. After several attendees contracted the virus after attending the March 13 BAFTAs in London, several nominees have been quarantining, like Branagh and “Belfast” co-star Ciarán Hinds. With an infection and hospitalization charges way down, Los Angeles County is set to elevate quite a few virus restrictions for indoor situations on April 1, 5 days after the Oscars.


Nominated 2 times in advance of for finest actor (for “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness”), Will Smith seems a lock to earn his to start with Academy Award. Smith’s effectiveness as Richard Williams, father to Venus and Serena, in “King Richard” has remained the most probable preference during the season. And the speech by the exuberant 53-calendar year-outdated star need to be a person of the most lively of the night. A earn, although, will have to arrive more than some formidable level of competition — together with the actor who bested Smith’s “Ali” general performance 20 many years ago: Denzel Washington, a winner then for “Training Day” and a threat this time for “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

WHO’S Established TO MAKE Historical past?

Several of the prime awards could characteristic some major milestones. Ari Wegner, cinematographer of “The Electricity of Pet,” may develop into the first girl to at any time gain that award. Her director, Jane Campion, is also poised to make historical past. Campion, the initial women ever nominated 2 times for best director, is established to develop into only the 3rd girl to earn the classification. It would mark the very first time the directing award has at any time long gone to gals in back again-to-again decades, immediately after “Nomadland” filmmaker Chloé Zhao received final year.

Troy Kotsur of “CODA” is in line to be the 1st deaf male actor to earn an Oscar. His extensively expected gain would make him and his “CODA” co-star Marlee Matlin the only deaf actors to land Academy Awards. And supporting actress, which Ariana DeBose seemingly has sewn up for her breakthrough function in Steven Spielberg’s “West Facet Story,” may perhaps see the first Afro-Latina and brazenly LGBTQ actor acquire in the category. A earn for DeBose would come 60 many years right after Rita Moreno gained for the very same function, Anita, in the 1961 first. That would be the 3rd time that two actors have won for actively playing the identical position, following Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker, and Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro as Vito Corleone. But we are going to have to wait around and see if DeBose’s “West Side Story” co-star Rachel Zegler is there to cheer her on.

Comply with AP Movie Author Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

For far more on this year’s Oscars, go to: https://apnews.com/hub/academy-awards

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Kenneth Proto

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