It’s finally here, Oscar Sunday. The current award season technically stars each August with a kick off during the Toronto and Telluride Film Festivals, but this one seemed a bit longer with all the players from the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in the mix. And considering “Hurt Locker’s” impressive June debut and “Avatar’s” amazing journey which hit a bump during last July’s Comic-Con, it’s been almost non-stop. Plus, the extra weeks because of the Olympics didn’t necessarily provide anyone with any relief. In fact, running into some of Awards Campaigns talented peers Friday night at the Independent Spirit Awards including Kris Tapley (In Contention), Pete Hammond (The Envelope), Anne Thompson (Thompson On Hollywood) and David Poland (Movie City News) there was certainly a sense of utter exhaustion (such troubles, I know).
Still, before we try to catch our 15th wind before Hollywood’s biggest night — and there will be more than enough time for reflection on Monday — here are ten things you should keep in the back of your mind while enjoying (hopefully) the 82nd Academy Awards.
10. Sorry Martin Short fans, but he’s out
Steve Martin’s buddy was supposed to appear in the opening musical number, but had to drop out at the last minute due to a personal matter. Who will step in? Your guess is as good as mine.
9. It’s gonna be really embarrassing if Kathryn Bigelow doesn’t win Best Director
No, not because she deserves it, but because none other than Barbra “I never got nominated in this category and I’m gonna never let you forget” Streisand is handing out the award. If Bigelow doesn’t win? Awkward to say the least.
8. Three original musical numbers. Three.
If you aren’t a fan of musical director Marc Shaiman and 70 dancers under Adam Shankman’s direction, you should plan your bathroom breaks accordingly.
7. If a nominee besides “White Ribbon” or “A Prophet” wins Best Foreign Language Film heads will roll
If “Secrets In Their Eyes” upsets two of the most critically acclaimed films of 2009 — no matter what their language — it would be the second year in a row the Academy’s strict requirements on who can vote for the category have failed them. A change would have to come.
6. Oscar now wants to make losers feel bad
After dropping “And the winner is…” over 20 years ago and instead using “And the Oscar goes to…” when a presenter announces the Oscar recipient, the producers and Academy have reportedly gone back to the more generic language. Why? No clue, but there was something classy about “And the Oscar goes to…” Not sure there was anyone clamoring to change it back.
5. Could the upset contender in Best Actress be someone other than “An Education’s” Carey Mulligan?
Yep. Gabourey Sibide of “Precious.” She might actually have a better shot of upsetting Bullock than Mulligan does.
4. Who will be getting too much screen time in the audience?
Any of those younger “stars”: Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron. Be prepared. You may think you’ve tuned into the MTV Movie Awards.
3. Forgive Jeff Bridges now for his acceptance speech for Best Actor
No one may be more deserving of an Academy Award this year than Best Actor frontrunner Jeff Bridges, but as the honors have racked up this season it’s becoming incredibly apparent speeches are not Bridges strong suit.
2. Did the 10 Best Picture nominee innovation work?
When you hear films such as “District 9,” “A Serious Man,” “An Education” and “Up” mentioned when they wouldn’t have made the cut last year, you gotta say, “Yep, yep it did.” Considering there were times during the season many worried that wouldn’t be the case, that’s a big relief. It also means the 10 are here to stay.
1. Will either “Avatar” or “Hurt Locker” dominate the night?
Not exactly. Look for “Avatar” to win the big prize at the end of the night, but both films should split a number of their competing categories along the way. It should heighten the drama throughout the show.
We’ll have wall to wall coverage Sunday on HitFix from red carpet galleries to a live blog (written by yours truly), individual commentary from our team of industry experts and much more. Whether you check in during the show itself or after you get home from your local Oscar party make sure to visit HitFix for complete Academy Awards coverage.
Just for the record, here’s Awards Campaigns final predictions which you can also review with pretty pictures here.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”
Actress in a Supporting Role
Mo”Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push” by Sapphire”
Animated Feature Film
“Up” Pete Docter
“Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
“Avatar” Mauro Fiore
“The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell
“The Cove” Nominees to be determined
Documentary (Short Subject)
“China”s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O”Neill
“The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
Foreign Language Film
“The White Ribbon” Germany
“Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
Music (Original Score)
“Up” Michael Giacchino
Music (Original Song)
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
Short Film (Animated)
“A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park
Short Film (Live Action)
“Kavi” Gregg Helvey
“Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
“Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
“Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
“Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Writing (Original Screenplay)
“The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
Actress in a Leading Role
Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
“The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
“Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
For a list of all the 82nd Academy Award nominees, click here.
For the latest Oscar and Entertainment news, follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory.