TV icon Ellen DeGeneres returns to host the Oscars a second time. The Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center and televised live on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Andrew Eccles)
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Updated: April 3, 2014 6:25AM
We won’t know all the answers until the last envelope is opened, but here are a few frequently asked questions we can tackle before Oscar’s big night Sunday (the show begins at 6 p.m. on ABC-Ch. 7).
How will Ellen DeGeneres do as the host?
It’s a safe bet Ellen won’t have audience members recoiling with frozen looks on their faces (more frozen than usual, that is) by singing “We Saw Your Boobs!” as Seth MacFarlane did last year. The popular, funny, mainstream-friendly DeGeneres will no doubt score some big laughs while managing to not offend a single celebrity in attendance.
After the opening monologue, DeGeneres will be relegated to the role of traffic cop: making jokes about the interminable length of the show, introducing presenters, ad-libbing a joke or two on the spot.
The reviews will say DeGeneres was much classier than MacFarlane and more engaged in the proceedings than recent disasters James Franco and Anne Hathaway, but not as memorable as Johnny Carson back in the day.
Even reviewers who were born after Johnny Carson first hosted the Oscars in 1978 like to cite Johnny Carson as the ultimate Oscar host. It’s like saying Sean Connery was the best James Bond; you can’t go wrong.
First you said “12 Years a Slave” was going to win Best Picture, but lately you’ve been saying “Gravity.” Which is it?
“American Hustle.” Just kidding. Sort of.
This is one of those rare years when it will be something of a surprise at least to some people when the winner of Best Picture is announced. I think “Gravity” might eke out by just a few votes. (Not that the Academy ever reveals the vote totals. I wish they did, ala the Heisman Trophy. So what if you came in last? It was an honor just to be nominated, right?)
How do you pronounce Lupita Nyong’o’s name?
Exactly the way Lupita Nyong’o says it.
How do you pronounce Cate Blanchett’s name?
Exactly the way Cate Blanchett says it.
How do you pronounce Jared Leto’s name?
Exactly the way Jared Leto says it.
If Matthew McConaughey wins Best Actor, what are the odds he says, “All right all right all right”?
Is there any chance in the world Cate Blanchett won’t win Best Actress?
There’s always a chance. Except in this case, where there’s no chance. Las Vegas oddsmakers don’t actually take bets on the Oscars, because a few people do know the results in advance, but the consensus among those oddsmakers has Blanchett as a 1-30 favorite. That means you’d have to put up 30 bucks just to win a dollar if Blanchett’s name is announced.
Wow. Is there a bigger favorite in any category this year?
Yup. “Gravity” is a 1-50 favorite to win for Best Visual Effects. The special effects were so convincing in that movie, I was trying to figure out where George Clooney and Sandra Bullock parked their trailers during the location shoots.
Oh, and “Dallas Buyers Club” is listed as a 1-100 favorite to win for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, although I think you can make the argument the makeup/hairstyling in the nominated “Jackass: Bad Grandpa” was more impressive. (The third nominee in this category is “The Lone Ranger,” which had some of the worst makeup and hairstyling in any movie last year. Johnny Depp’s a genius, but from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” through the “Pirates” movies and now “The Lone Ranger,” to name just a few movies, he has sported more bad wigs, weird hats and questionable makeup than any actress of our times.)
Which presenters are most likely to fumble their lines, search their pockets for reading glasses, grumble about not being able to read the Teleprompter, act as if this is their first time reading the copy and/or complain about the quality of the joke-writing?
1. Harrison Ford
2. Robert De Niro
3. Goldie Hawn
Which presenter is the most intriguing?
Bill Murray. This will be the first time Murray presents at the Oscars — that is, if he doesn’t back out.
After an infamous falling-out with Harold Ramis during the making of “Groundhog Day,” Murray reportedly didn’t talk to Ramis for decades. After Ramis died Monday, Murray issued a cryptic statement saying Ramis had “earned his keep on this planet.” Will the ever-unpredictable Murray take time out to say something about Ramis, or launch right into his presenting chores?
What do we know for sure about this year’s Oscar telecast?
Some of the winners in the relatively minor categories will take forever to get to the podium and will ramble on well past their allotted time, thanking people we’ve never heard of for their invaluable contributions to films we’ve never seen, even as the play-off music continues to swell.
There will be a 45-minute stretch where almost nothing of interest happens.
At least one woman will wear a dress that makes it appear as if the designer hated her and was carrying out a personal vendetta.
Approximately 27 percent of tweets will say this is the worst Oscar show EVER. Approximately 80 percent of those tweets will be composed by people who have been watching the Oscars only since the late 1990s.
Nobody will forget to thank their agent, but somebody will forget to thank their spouse or significant other.
At least one winner will remark on how heavy the Oscar is. It would be great if just once, somebody would say, “It’s so light! I thought it would be solid gold, what the BLEEP!”