The Final Oscar Countdown

By Shu ChiangMovies - 05 March 2010 4:00 PM | Updated 6:48 PM

The Final Oscar Countdown

Here are some interesting things you should know to prepare for your Oscar-viewing experience on Monday, 8 March, 9am Singapore time.

 

The hosts

“Two hosts are better than one” is apparently the philosophy behind the anointment of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin – both very funny comic actors in their own right – for this year.

Incidentally, the pair should be familiar with each other having starred earlier this year as love rivals, vying for the attentions of Meryl Streep, in the romantic comedy It’s Complicated. Martin has also appeared on an episode of the hit sitcom, 30 Rock, starring Baldwin and funnygal Tina Fey.

For anyone who’s interested, last year’s ceremony was hosted by the well-liked Aussie actor Hugh Jackman. His performance divided critics, some of whom loved it, while others termed it ‘cheesy’.

 

The young ones

Look out for young ones to attract attention on the red carpet, and during the telecast, with Twilight Saga stars Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and Anna Kendrick, as well as other popular young stars including Miley Cyrus, Carey Mulligan and Zac Efron, expected to attend.

 

 

The presenters

The Oscars are all about star-gazing and shameless publicity stunts. With that in mind, here are some of the celebrities who are reportedly set to present awards at the ceremony:

Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Matt Damon, Anna Kendrick, Mulligan, and Tarantino – all up for awards on the night themselves;

Last year’s winners Penelope Cruz, Sean Penn, Kate Winslet (the late Heath Ledger would have presented, as he posthumously won the Best Supporting Actor prize last year);

And other hot stars such as Tina Fey, Gerard Butler, Bradley Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sam Worthington, Chris Pine, Keanu Reeves, designer-director Tom Ford, Barbra Streisand, Kathy Bates, John Travolta, Sacha Baron Cohen (reportedly dropped at press time), Jason Bateman, Steve Carell, Ben Stiller, among others.

 

The venue

The Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, located on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, has played host to the Oscars ceremony since March 2002. Since 2002, the Kodak Theatre has been home to the American Idol show.

 

The new ideas

Having two hosts instead of one is just the first of several changes for this year’s Oscars.

Kudos to the decision to bring back 10 nominees for the Best Picture category (an expansive field not seen since 1943), which has allowed films such as Up and District 9, and perhaps The Blind Side, to have their moment in the sun. (With so many, this could mean each film is introduced during the show more briefly than ever.)

However, the show’s producers have also deemed the ‘live’ performance of Best Song nominees to be surplus to requirements. Which means, alas, we won’t be able to hear two songs from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.

On the other hand, the producers have installed cameras that will give TV viewers a presenter’s point-of-view, as well as created more innovative shots to capture the atmosphere at the theatre.

 

 

The key matchups

This year’s race for the Oscars has been billed as the Battle of the Exes for the fact that the directors of the two front-running films, James Cameron (Avatar) and Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), were once married. 

Both films are up for nine awards each, with Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in the frame for a maximum of eight, Up in the Air and Precious each have six nods, while Pixar’s Up has five.

Based on oddsmakers and experts, the most obvious winners are Inglourious Basterds’ Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor and Precious’ Mo’Nique for Best Supporting Actress. Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) are also considered firm favourites for Best Actress and Best Actor.

But all eyes should be on the Cameron-Bigelow face-off, with Bigelow expected to beat him out to become the first woman to win the Best Director prize, while the coveted Best Picture gong is too close to call – will voters balance things out by naming Avatar Best Picture, if they favour Bigelow for the directing honour? We shall see.

If you’re planning to watch the show (without know who the winners are) and want to play a game of guess-the-winners with your family or friends, go ahead and print out the entire list of nominees from inSing.com’s Oscar coverage and tick off your selections now. Have fun!

 

The past winners

It doesn’t take long for most casual observers to forget who are the past winners at the Oscars. Twelve months is usually more than enough to have such memory loss. Don’t have to stress; here’s a list of the key winners of last year’s awards:

Best Picture – Slumdog Millionaire, Best Director – Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), Best Actor – Sean Penn (Milk), Best Actress – Kate Winslet (The Reader), Best Supporting Actor – Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Best Supporting Actress – Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Best Animated Film – Wall-E, Best Documentary – Man on Wire, Best Foreign Film – Departures (Japan), and Best Song – Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire).

 

The TV times

MediaCorp TV Channel 5 will be telecasting the half-hour Pre-Academy Awards 2010 show ‘live’ at 9am, with the actual ceremony being shown from 9.30am to the planned time of 1pm (these shows have a habit of running late). The repeat telecast has the pre-show at 6.30pm, followed by the ceremony from 10.30pm to 2am.