It’s Oscar night! The night you’ve all been waiting for! Wait, what’s that you say? You’ve been busy thinking about other things and only just remembered to set your TiVo this morning? Fret not, beloved Style readers: we’ve had the Academy Awards on our mind this whole time just so you could go about your days and tune in at the last minute. Read on for your handy-dandy, super-comprehensive guide to this special night, when we can all act like cinema experts and fashion critics.
When and where can I watch it?
The 85th Academy Awards show begins on Sunday at 7 p.m. on ABC with the official red carpet show. The ceremony itself begins at 8:30 p.m. and should run until at least 11:45 p.m. E!, master of moderation, kicks off its red carpet coverage at 1:30 p.m. For a complete guide to Oscars programming, check out our TV Column blog. And, of course, we’ll be live blogging away here, starting at 4:30 p.m.
I’m a grown-up. What’s a Seth MacFarlane?
He’s the creator of “Family Guy,” director and writer of “Ted,” and the Academy’s latest attempt at staying hip with the young people.
You know, the last time they tried that, it didn’t go so well.
The James Franco/Anne Hathaway debacle? Accurate. Look, if it were up to me, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler would host ALL OF THE SHOWS. On the rare occasion they opted out, Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris would step up in alternating years. Sorry, kids.
I would like a list of male presenters, in descending order of how much they are my boyfriend in my head.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Affleck, Paul Rudd, Channing Tatum, Robert Downey Jr., Jean Dujardin, Mark Ruffalo, Jamie Foxx, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Wahlberg, Richard Gere, Jack Nicholson, Daniel Radcliffe, Dustin Hoffman, Liam Neeson, Michael Douglas, John Travolta, Christopher Plummer, Ted (as in, the animated bear).
How about the ladies?
Expect to see (in alphabetical order): Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Jessica Chastain, Jane Fonda, Jennifer Garner, Salma Hayek, Norah Jones, Nicole Kidman, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lawrence, Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Meryl Streep, Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon and Renée Zellweger.
Who’s got a statue down on lock?
Unless Harvey Weinstein has some important member of the Academy bound and gagged in his basement who will only be released if Bradley Cooper beats Daniel Day-Lewis, the “Lincoln” leading man will take home Best Actor. Chris Terrio, writer of “Argo,” should score for Best Adapted Screenplay. Anne Hathaway basically just dreams a dream before dying less than halfway through “Les Miserables,” but that likely won’t stand between her and an Academy Award; Judi Dench snagged one for her eight minute, get-popcorn-and-you-miss-it role in “Shakespeare in Love.”
Well, yeah, but everyone knows “Shakespeare in Love” winning anything at all was one of the most bogus Oscar calls of all time. Best picture over “Saving Private Ryan”?
See, if these are the kinds of problems you’re going to have, maybe don’t watch the telecast at all.
How exactly are you qualified to make these predictions? Did you even take math in college?
I did take math! To be specific, I took “Ideas in Math” with all the other writers and athletes. If you want a real statistician, Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight fame has his own, admittedly more informed forecast on his blog. Check out our critics’ picks for best picture.
There’s this “Celebration of Movie Musicals” number that, I’ll be honest, could go either way and given past performances I’m not all that optimistic about it. But it’ll feature stars from The Miserables (Jackman, Hathaway, Russell Crowe — yes, he’s singing; I know, I know — Mean Girl made good Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit and Samantha Barks). Also performing: “Skyfall” singer Adele, Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey and Norah Jones. Host MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth will close out the show with a musical number after the Best Picture winner is announced, when they are sure to have everyone’s undivided and not at all sleepy attention.
Break down the best picture category for me. I’ve been pretty busy marathoning “House of Cards” on Netflix so I haven’t gotten around to seeing… well, any of these. Depending on who I am, what should I be rooting for?
Are you a Serious Person Who Takes Film Seriously? Do you call them “films” but never “movies”? Go with “Lincoln.” If you also say “films” instead of “movies” and like rooting for underdogs/listening to bands nobody but you has heard of, pick “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” and if you want to root for an octogenarian underdog instead of a nine-year-old, pick “Amour.” If you’re pro-France-as-backdrop but don’t actually want to read subtitles, pick “Les Miserables.” Do you say “water” like “wuh-der” and know what homemades and crabby snacks are? Your choice is “Silver Linings Playbook.” Will you not mind having to play defense in a debate about the astonishingly frequent use of racial slurs in the movie of your choice? Say “Django Unchained.” Will you not mind having to play defense in a debate about the astonishingly graphic depiction of torture in the movie of your choice? Say “Zero Dark Thirty.”
If you just want to have a good time at the party, not get in a fight with anyone and be talking about a movie most people have actually seen: “Argo.”
Oh, also, “Life of Pi” is nominated. So, that’s nifty for the tiger, I guess.
Sorry, I should know this by now, but how do you pronounce Quvenzhane Wallis?
I only watch for the dresses. Who are the fashion frontrunners?
You’ll want to keep an eye out for Jennifer Lawrence (the new face of Miss Dior), Jessica Chastain (she can be hit or miss, but she’s a good risk-taker) and Anne Hathaway (I don’t care how annoying you think she is; the girl’s got style). Click here for all things Oscar fashion.
What is the status of Ben Affleck’s beard?
Single. At press time, Matt Damon was clean-shaven, taking the obvious favorite out of the equation. Things are complicated with Ben’s beard’s partner-in-scruff, Clooney’s five o’clock shadow, but anything could happen on Oscar night. We’ll be keeping close tabs on all of the following facial hair: Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine mutton chops, Russell Crowe’s too-drunk-or-hungover-for-razors bushel, Daniel Day-Lewis’ method-mustache, and Daniel Radcliffe’s “I swear I’m not Harry Potter anymore, LOOK AT ME I GROW FACIAL HAIR” jawline.
How does the Academy pick these people?
Members from each branch vote for their own kind to select nominees (actors picking actors, directors picking directors, and so on) and everyone gets to vote for best picture. Once the nominees are announced, it’s pretty much a free-for-all. You can get the details on the Academy’s website. Play our Oscars ballot builder to see how you would fare as a member of the Academy.