Big screen’s night to shine on the little screen
It’s Oscar’s night on ABC and it all begins with Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live From the Red Carpet, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
You know the drill — 90 minutes of interviews with nominees, presenters and performers arriving for the awards ceremony, each told they look fabulous and asked who they are wearing.
Full disclosure: Try as I may, I just can’t work up enthusiasm to watch people walk down a carpet and say they’re wearing Ralph Lauren. It comes off as disingenuous, hokey and 90 minutes of my life that could be better spent.
But for those who enjoy this sort of thing, ABC has you covered. In fact, E! begins its Oscar countdown show at 12:30 p.m., with live red carpet coverage at 4:30.
ABC follows at 7:30 p.m. with the actual awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. It’ll be three hours of waiting to see which celebrities will take their moment in the spotlight to bash President Donald Trump.
Don’t doubt me. It may be a long night of Hollywood one- upmanship as winners try for their own Meryl Streep Golden Globe moment.
Maybe Streep will have the chance to one-up herself. The actress (whom Trump tweeted was “overrated”) has won three Oscars and been nominated 20 times, going back to 1978’s The Deer Hunter. This year, she’s up for Best Actress again.
Among those scheduled to perform this year’s nominated songs are Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sting, Justin Timberlake and John Legend.
Miranda will perform his song, “How Far I’ll Go,” written for Moana. Sixteen-yearold Auli’i Cravalho, who was the voice of Moana, will join him.
Sting, a 17-time Grammy winner, will perform “The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story. Sting cowrote the song with J. Ralph.
Timberlake will sing his “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls, and Legend will perform “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” and “City of Stars,” both from La La Land.
The presenters include past Oscar winners and nominees. They are Halle Berry,
Jamie Dornan, Chris Evans, Gael Garcia Bernal, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson and Hailee Steinfeld.
Others on the list are Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson, Shirley MacLaine,
Dakota Johnson, Kate McKinnon, Mark Rylance and Alicia Vikander.
All the above is ancillary glamour and glitz. The real reason for the night is to honor Hollywood’s best of 2016. It’s the 89th time the ceremony has been held and a total of 3,048 Oscars have been handed out so far.
Here are the Big 4 nominations.
Best Picture: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight.
Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea; Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge; Ryan Gosling, La La Land; Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic; Denzel Washington, Fences.
Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert, Elle; Ruth Negga, Loving; Natalie Portman, Jackie; Emma Stone, La La Land; Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins.
Best Director: Denis Villeneuve, Arrival; Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge; Damien Chazelle, La La Land; Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea; Barry Jenkins, Moonlight.
What about diversity this year? Oscar has come under heavy criticism the past two years for a lack of diversity among the nominees in the major categories. There was not a single black face to be seen.
This year, however, there are seven minority actors nominated, including a record-tying six black actors. Expect some commentary about that from the stage.
Finally, being a TV guy, it’s rare that I go out to the movies while they are still in theaters. Nonetheless, I find it fascinating how many viewers watch the Oscars without ever having seen the films.
I looked up the box office numbers for this year’s Best Picture nominees. As of this writing, Hidden Figures leads the way with $133.8 million in ticket sales, followed by La La Land with $127.9 million.
The other nominees in order were (in millions): Arrival ($99.5); Hacksaw Ridge ($66.6); Fences ($54.2); Manchester by the Sea ($45.1); Lion ($31.5); Hell or High Water ($ 27.0); and Moonlight ($20.5).
Is there a connection between quality and the box office? Not usually. Captain America: Civil War pulled in $408 million domestically in 2016 and $1.2 billion worldwide. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Finding Dory and Zootopia weren’t far behind.
By the way, the production budget for Hidden Figures was $ 25 million. The cost for Captain America: Civil War was a staggering $250 million, not including marketing costs.
Jimmy Kimmel hosts the 89th Academy Awards beginning at 7:30 p.m. today on ABC.