We’re almost there, friends. The end of award season is nigh, with the 90th Academy Awards set to wrap things up on Sunday. It’s bound to be an eventful night, though perhaps not for the usual reasons. The drama leading up to the Oscars this year has veered away from the usual quarrels — remember how fiercely fans pitted “Moonlight” and “La La Land” against each other? — and toward controversial figures. Sunday will mark the first ceremony since the #MeToo movement swept over Hollywood and the first to follow last year’s best picture flub. With that in mind, here are eight things to watch for.
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway’s redemption
Like at a Marvel movie, where you stay to the end not for the climax but for the post-credit sequence, we won’t keep watching the Oscars to find out the best picture winner but to see whether it’ll be announced correctly. And Variety confirmed on Friday that “Bonnie and Clyde” duo Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway will return to announce the best picture winner despite last year’s attempt, when Beatty opened the wrong envelope and Dunaway read “La La Land” as the winner instead of “Moonlight.” (Luckily for everyone involved, “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz pointed out the mistake before his team could get too far into their speech.)
Beatty and Dunaway will likely pay a lot more attention to the envelope this time — as will PricewaterhouseCooper, the accounting firm that oversees the Oscars and took full responsibility for the mistake. But we’re not going to lie: It’s a little sad that we won’t get another version of this iconic reaction shot.
Awkwardness on the red carpet
In a similar list before the Golden Globes, my colleagues Stephanie Merry and Emily Yahr noted that actresses wearing black in silent protest of sexual misconduct could make for an unusual preshow: “Hope you’re ready, Ryan Seacrest — looks like red-carpet interviews are about to take an interesting turn.” It’s an eerily apt sentiment for the Oscars, too: On Monday, stylist Suzie Hardy went public with a detailed account of sexual misconduct allegations against Seacrest, her former E! News colleague. Seacrest preemptively released a statement in November denying a complaint by “someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago,” and an independent investigation conducted by E! found that the claims “could not be substantiated.” He repeated the denial this week.
The network confirmed on Tuesday that Seacrest would still host E!’s “Live from the Red Carpet” program, so we’re due for another Debra Messing moment.
Harvey Weinstein mentions
“Harvey” has been thanked in Oscars acceptance speeches more times than God — yes, we’re serious. He produced Oscar-winning films ranging from “Shakespeare in Love” to “The King’s Speech” and would usually sit up front during the ceremony.
It wouldn’t be surprising to hear Weinstein’s name dropped a few more times this year, though for the opposite reason. Rape and sexual harassment allegations against the producer are what got the entire #MeToo movement going, after all, and stars haven’t shied away from addressing mistreatment this award season.
Some sort of Time’s Up moment
There’s currently no plan to coordinate attire in support of the initiative to fight misconduct — like the black dresses stars wore at the Golden Globes or white roses at the Grammys. But leaders of the initiative told members of the press on Thursday that they had worked with the show’s producers to bring attention to the cause during the ceremony. “There’s a moment that’s been carved out,” said Ava Duvernay, whose films “Selma” and “13th” were previously nominated for Academy Awards. It’s unclear what the moment will entail, but it’ll surely get the audience’s attention.
Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue
This is Kimmel’s second time hosting the Oscars, and his monologue will probably have an entirely different focus. Whereas last year’s show mentioned the newly elected president quite often, he confirmed that he will focus more on the #MeToo movement this year. His team will continue to work on the monologue up until showtime, though, and we know after watching “Envelopegate” that he’s great at improvising. Anything’s fair game.
The expected acting winners
Yes, there are actual movies to honor. It’s pretty clear who the favorites are in the acting categories this year: Frances McDormand for best actress in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Gary Oldman for best actor in “Darkest Hour,” Allison Janney for supporting actress in “I, Tonya” and Sam Rockwell for supporting actor in “Three Billboards.” Their speeches are another story. McDormand is known for her quirkiness and unpredictability, best captured by a poker-faced reaction shot that went viral after the 2015 Golden Globes.
A potential big night for “The Shape of Water”
Guillermo del Toro’s whimsical film that depicts the romance between a mute woman and a well-meaning aquatic monster landed 13 Oscar nominations, just one short of the record held by “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land.” In addition to several technical categories, it will compete for best picture, best director, best original screenplay and acting awards for Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer. Though it hasn’t achieved as much box-office success as “Get Out” or “Dunkirk,” the film and its director have earned high praise from critics.
Potential historic winners
After Natalie Portman pointed out the all-male Golden Globe directing nominees in January, the Oscars nominated Greta Gerwig, who is the fifth woman to get that honor and would be the second woman to win the award, after Kathryn Bigelow in 2010. Jordan Peele, the fifth black director nominated, would be the first to win, and Rachel Morrison is the first female cinematographer to even be nominated. At 88, supporting actor nominee Christopher Plummer would be the oldest person to ever win an acting award, beating a record he set himself six years ago.