We are mere hours away from the worldwide live broadcast of the 84th annual Academy Awards — the biggest night in Hollywood — and even less hours away from the point where the first person will step foot on the famed red carpet. This weekend, workers have been toiling furiously to get the Kodak Theater all spiffed up for the big event. As Pink writer Melissa has reminded us, comedian Billy Crystal will be hosting today’s awards show for the 8th time so … I think we pretty much know what to expect from Oscar night tonight. But, before we get to all of night’s big fashions, big awards and big afterparties, let’s take a look at some of the preparations that are taking place still this weekend in Hollywood for tonight’s Academy Awards.
As the 84th Academy Awards ceremony draws ever closer, Hollywood is increasingly in the grip of Oscar fever. Preparations for the lavish awards show, which takes place on Sunday evening, are now in their final stage, as workers roll out the red carpet and festoon the show’s venue with Oscar memorabilia. The Kodak Theatre has become a hive of activity, surrounded by replica statuettes and tourists anxious to catch a glimpse of the silver-screen magic. Anticipation for the ceremony will no doubt increase following the news that all four of last year’s award-winning actors will be handing out statuettes this year. Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo will each give out an award during the ceremony, which is directed by Brian Grazer and presented by Billy Crystal. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck delivered up another sneak preview when he unveiled the menu he has designed for the annual Governor’s Ball following the Academy Awards … During the ceremony itself, the emphasis is expected to be on nostalgia. Film itself has been around for well over a century, and Sunday’s Oscar nominees span every decade of the last hundred years, with an unusual emphasis on the history and artistry of cinema’s earlier days. Oscar show producer Brian Grazer says that the Hollywood & Highland Center, the hall formerly known as the Kodak where the ceremony takes place, will be redesigned to resemble a ‘timeless movie theater.’ It’s a fitting transformation on a night whose key nominees are ‘Hugo’ and ‘The Artist,’ two love songs to forebears of the flickering image. Set amid the transition from silent cinema to talking pictures in the late 1920s, ‘The Artist’ is the best-picture favourite and would become the only silent movie to win top honors since the first Oscar show 83 years ago. The leader with 11 nominations, ‘Hugo’ was made by Martin Scorsese, arguably Hollywood’s biggest cheerleader for the rediscovery and preservation of early films. Adapted from Brian Selznick’s children’s book ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret,’ the film centers on a boy and girl in 1930s Paris who unravel a mystery surrounding French film pioneer Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley), whose fantastical silent-era shorts of 100 years ago or more are re-created by Scorsese using the best technology modern digital Hollywood has to offer … On a nostalgia-tinged night, it also makes sense that Billy Crystal returns as Oscar host for the first time in eight years. The most-beloved modern Oscar emcee, Crystal is back for his ninth time, second only to Bob Hope, who was host at 19 ceremonies. Along with ‘Hugo’ and ‘The Artist,’ which span the early 1900s through the 1930s, key nominees cover the last century, from Steven Spielberg’s World War I saga ‘War Horse’ to Stephen Daldry’s Sept. 11-themed drama ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ and Alexander Payne’s contemporary family story ‘The Descendants.’ All are among the nine best-picture contenders, joined by Woody Allen’s romantic fantasy ‘Midnight in Paris,’ which time travels from today to the 1920s and earlier; Tate Taylor’s Deep South drama ‘The Help,’ set at the start of the 1960s civil-rights movement; Bennett Miller’s baseball story ‘Moneyball,’ chronicling the Oakland A’s efforts to build a winning team on a penny-pinching budget; and Terrence Malick’s family drama ‘The Tree of Life,’ an elegiac tale largely set in the 1950s, with sweeping glimpses back to the dawn of creation. The latter two star Brad Pitt, a best-actor nominee for ‘Moneyball.’ The A-list crowd also includes acting nominees George Clooney for ‘The Descendants,’ Meryl Streep for the Margaret Thatcher story ‘The Iron Lady,’ Glenn Close for the Irish drama ‘Albert Nobbs’ and Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh for the Marilyn Monroe tale ‘My Week with Marilyn.’
I have to say … I’m not really that invested in this year’s Academy Awards. Normally, I’m a huge fan of nostalgia but something about all of the old-timeyness of this year’s crop of films really didn’t get with me. I was really taken with films like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo … and when it wasn’t really given much Oscar love when the nominations came out, I kinda checked out. I’m also not really a fan of Billy Crystal‘s brand of comedy so … again, checked out:
But, just because I’m not jazzed about the show tonight doesn’t mean A.) that it won’t be a good show and B.) that I won’t watch with some level of interest. Tonight’s Academy Awards is the penultimate peak of Awards season … after tonight’s really big show, it’s all over … until next season. I guess I’m kinda looking forward to watching the show but, then again, I’m also looking forward to it being over ;)
What about y’all … are YOU excited for tonight’s show? If so, what are you looking forward to most?