The Oscars are only days away, and while nominees anxiously wait to find out how their long awards-season journeys will end (spoiler: “La La Land” nominees will be happy), first-time producers Jennifer Todd and Mike De Luca are trying to keep as many aspects of the telecast they can secret. Of course, there are still a number of things we know about the world’s most prestigious awards show.
ABC network star Jimmy Kimmel is your host after just emceeing the Emmy Awards this past September (imagine that, ABC talent on an ABC broadcast after the network got more control of the telecast in the last contract negotiations). You can probably get a good idea of what his Oscar monologue might by like after catching up on his Emmy one. As for the look of the show, Emmy-winning Production Designer Derek McLane is returning for a fifth straight year, so don’t expect a dramatic difference in the overall look for the show. Moreover, Glenn Weiss will return to direct the show for a second straight year (he’s won 11 Emmys either producing or directing the Tony Awards). And then there is the list of announced presenters. Let’s start there, shall we?
People got things to promote (or are in the audience)
As expected, last year’s four acting winners will return to present at this year’s telecast (traditionally the other lead or supporting category). So ABC will be thrilled to have Leonardo DiCaprio, Alicia Vikander, Brie Larson and, um, Mark Rylance on hand. Amy Adams will be on hand to dutifully continue to support “Arrival” (can she get, like, half an Oscar for all the work she’s done for this movie?), John Cho can cheer for “Star Trek Beyond” when it likely wins Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Riz Ahmed and Felicity Jones will bring some “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” star power to the proceedings. Janelle Monáe is there as a cast member of two nominated films (“Moonlight,” “Hidden Figures“), while Charlize Theron has a few movies coming out in a few months (“The Fate Of The Furious,” “Atomic Blonde“), as does Dwayne Johnson (“Baywatch,” “The Fate Of The Furious“) and Javier Bardem (“Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” among others). David Oyelowo has a movie in theaters now (“A United Kingdom“) and the upcoming “God Particle.” Emma Stone is on hand as a nominee (a strange lack of nominees announced as presenters so far), and we’re gonna guess Leslie Mann is just doing the producers a solid by stopping by. And if you’re wondering why there is a lack of “Avengers” or “Guardians Of The Galaxy” star power (a somewhat annual event), our guess is the filming of ‘Infinity War‘ takes precedence over a trip to the Dolby Theatre. Update: The Academy announced that Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman (“Zootopia”), Sofia Boutella (“Star Trek: Beyond”), Dev Patel (nominated for “Lion”), Octavia Spencer (nominated for “Hidden Figures”), Taraji P. Henson (“Hidden Figures”), Salma Hayek, Vince Vaughn (“Hacksaw Ridge”), Michael J. Fox and, yes, Meryl Streep will also present.
The theme is “movies that inspire us” which means…edited clip reels
Both Todd and De Luca said that this year’s theme is “movies that inspire us,” and that means clip packages. You can argue that in recent years, the telecast has relied too much on these edited pieces to the detriment of the show. While they are often well-made, they completely drag out the proceedings. The goal, according to De Luca, is to tell a story “about how movies, and moments within them, stay with you through the generations. How you shared them with loved ones; your parents, your first love, your spouse, your kids.” Maybe they will find a fresh and interesting way to do so. Probably won’t, but we’ll take any surprise we can get.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling will not be singing for their statues
If you dreamed of the “La La Land” stars belting out their Oscar-nominated songs live, you’re gonna have to wait a lot longer to see that come to pass (if it ever does). Both acting nominees dropped out of performing and, instead, their co-star John Legend will sing a medley of both nominated songs “City Of Stars” and “Audition.” The other vocalists of the Best Song nominees will take the stage, however. Sting will sing “The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story,” Justin Timberlake will bring some contemporary pop-star power with his Grammy-winning “Trolls” megahit “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” and Lin-Manuel Miranda will join Auli’i Cravalho in singing “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana.”
You can bet there’s gonna be some Matt Damon thing with Jimmy Kimmel
Kimmel has had a long running fake “feud” with Matt Damon on his late-night talk show for years. And it’s even been something they have worked into Kimmel’s previous post-Oscar shows. It would be shocking if the two didn’t figure out a way to incorporate it into this show, as Damon will be on hand as a nominated producer of “Manchester By The Sea.” It may be obvious, but it’s something you know Kimmel simply can’t resist. The question is, with Casey Affleck on hand, will his older brother Ben find a way to make an appearance in the bit as well?
The opening of the show is not a musical number or montage film
In an interview with Deadline, both Todd and De Luca noted that the opening of this year’s Oscars would be doing something different because Kimmel had already done a filmed montage bit at the Emmys in September with Kimmel included (an Oscars standard from the Billy Crystal era) and with Jimmy Fallon already beating them to the punch with a musical “La La Land” skit at the Golden Globes. What that means is unclear. Could it be a simple opening monologue with Kimmel? Could it be a clip reel of people’s favorite movies? Whatever it is, one thing is clear: don’t expect any singing and dancing.