Six things to watch for at the Oscars

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An Oscar statue displayed at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards.
An Oscar statue displayed at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards.
Photo: Valerie Macon/AFP

  • The winners of the 94th Academy Awards will be announced on Sunday.
  • The ceremony with be hosted by Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer.
  • Here are six things to watch for at the ceremony.

Will Hollywood go political about Ukraine at the Oscars on Sunday? Will director Jane Campion walk away with a golden statuette? Will records be broken?

And will millions of viewers ever get We Don't Talk About Bruno out of their heads?

Here are six things to watch for at the ceremony:

1. Ukraine

The optics of millionaires giving each other prizes while war rages in Ukraine is a delicate issue for producers to handle.

Host Amy Schumer pitched for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to speak at the ceremony via video.

At a press conference, the show's producer Will Packer declined to "definitively say one way or another," while co-host Wanda Sykes quipped: "Isn't he busy right now?"

Still, the show will address Ukraine in an "organic" and "thoughtful" way, Sykes added - and Oscar winners are almost certain to mention Russia's invasion throughout the night in their acceptance speeches.

2. 'Twitter Oscars'?

Producers have introduced two prizes chosen by popular vote for the ceremony - a "fan favourite" film from this year, and an "Oscars cheer moment" from any movie in history.

While winners won't receive actual Academy Awards, disgruntled critics complain that "real" prizes are being forced to make way for a "Twitter Oscars," given that a handful of awards will be presented ahead of the main broadcast.

"As if we're going to have a random Twitter user hand an Oscar to Meryl Streep! That's not what's happening," said Packer.

"Sometimes the show has felt like 'It's just us, just Hollywood, no one else is invited,'" he added.

"This year, we want it to be a little more open in our embrace of the public."

How the prizes will be handed out - and how the experiment will be received - remains to be seen.

3. 'Godfather' and Bond anniversaries

The gala will honour not just the movies nominated this year, but also timeless classics such as The Godfather, which turned 50 this week.

"We're going to have Francis Ford Coppola's classic, we're going to honour it. We got some surprises around that, wink wink," said Packer.

Packer also hinted that 60 years of Bond would be "on the show." The first 007 outing, Dr No, was released in 1962.

Billie Eilish is already set to perform her theme song from latest Bond flick No Time To Die. What else is in store?

4. Power of the women

Power of the Dog director Jane Campion recently suggested it was "time to claim a sense of victory" in breaking Hollywood's glass ceiling for women.

Sunday's Oscars could further that claim.

Campion is expected to become the third female best director in Oscars history - just a year after Chloé Zhao became the second (Nomadland). Kathryn Bigelow was the first for The Hurt Locker.

More astonishingly, her cinematographer Ari Wegner is only the second woman nominated in her male-dominated field, after 94 years of Oscars history. Can she become the first winner?

5. Anita repeat-er? -

On the surface, Batman's nemesis Joker, Don Corleone from The Godfather and Anita from West Side Story don't have a great deal in common.

But if Ariana DeBose wins for best supporting actress - as widely expected - it will be a rare instance of two performers winning Oscars for playing the same fictional character.

Robert De Niro bagged his first Academy Award playing the younger version of Marlon Brando's mafia boss in The Godfather: Part Two, while Joaquin Phoenix in Joker followed up Heath Ledger's posthumous prize for The Dark Knight.

Can DeBose emulate the great Rita Moreno?

Ariana DeBose as Anita and David Alvarez as Bernad
Ariana DeBose as Anita and David Alvarez as Bernado in West Side Story.

6. Bruno-no-no -

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is the frontrunner for best song with Dos Oruguitas, which will be performed on Sunday - but a different tune from Disney's Encanto is more likely to interest viewers.

Viral sensation We Don't Talk About Bruno will be performed live by its cast for the first time.

The catchy Latin pop song about a mysterious, troublesome uncle has spawned over a million TikTok videos, topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, and is Disney's most popular song in years.

"If there is a song that unites people this year, that is kind of the epitome, to me of what movies can do," said Packer, noting it has been sung by fans around the world "ad nauseum" this year.

"We're going to help them out so they sing it a little bit more. Our apologies to the parents," he added.

Watch the ceremony live on Monday, 28 March at 03:00 on M-Net Movies 1 (DStv 104) or later in prime time at 21:30 on M-Net (DStv 101).

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