Hollywood poised for its big day
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The limousines have been charged up, the hairdressers and stylists have worked their magic and the stars are ready to stroll down the red carpet in dresses that have been begged, borrowed or — perish the thought — bought.
And, of course, the champagne is on ice and the trendy parties booked.
Hollywood was ready for its big night on Sunday — the Oscars. And this year there are a couple of notes of suspense in proceedings that have become been cut and dried and downright boring over the years.
The experts agree that no one knows who is going to win best film, adding some tension in the rarefied Oscar air.
Will it be that cute homage to dysfunctional family life, “Little Miss Sunshine,” or that depressing tale of pain and suffering around the world, “Babel?”
Does “The Queen” stand a chance, or will Clint Eastwood walk off with the big award for his Japanese language masterpiece, “Letters From Iwo Jima?” Might the Oscar go to Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed,” a cops and gangsters film that could triumph if votes split between “Sunshine” and “Babel.”
It has been years since the best picture nomination was as much of a toss-up as this year.
In addition, in the last 10 days, several experts have moved away from predictions that all the best acting nominations are locked up and are predicting close contests in three of the four — best actor, best supporting actor and best supporting actress categories.
ALL HAIL THE QUEEN
Only Helen Mirren is regarded as a shoo-in for best actress for her regal work as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen.”
In the days leading up to the Oscars, some heavyweight critics have thrown their support to “Sunshine,” while some Oscar voters have turned their noses up at the movie, saying it is too lowbrow to merit an Oscar.
Then again, it is not hard to find fault with all the nominees. Some found “Babel” too dark, “The Departed” too much of a genre film, “The Queen” interesting for Brits but not Yank Oscar voters, and “Letters from Iwo Jima” is a terrific film — if you speak Japanese.
Martin Scorsese is expected to win the best director for “Departed,” and if so, it would be his first Oscar for an individual film after seven previous nominations. The sentiment around town is that it is “Marty’s turn.”
Regardless of who wins or loses, a lot of people will be glued to their TV sets to see what the stars are wearing on the world’s most famous red carpet.
Although most stars have multiple designer gowns from which to choose — making last-minute decisions based on whim and weather — best actress nominee Mirren has said she will be wearing Christian LaCroix on the big night.
Many have speculated that Giorgio Armani will dress best supporting actress nominee Cate Blanchett, while others have cited fashion atelier Chanel as a likely choice for Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, a best actress nominee for “Volver.”
Whatever the final choices, the Academy Awards are one evening in the flurry of Hollywood awards events where elegance and opulence, rather than in-your-face body-flaunting, are celebrated.
Many eyes will be on Ellen DeGeneres, the comedian who is hosting her first Oscars. She promises a kinder, gentler show.
L.A. Weekly Hollywood columnist Nikki Finke said viewers should expect at least one major change: all the acting awards may be given in the last third of the show instead of a couple at the start.
An Academy spokeswoman had no comment. You can tune in to find out, she said, adding another note of suspense to this year’s Academy Awards.
Hollywood poised for its big day