The votes are in, the tuxedos are pressed, and the evening's high-heel wearers have received their special foot-Botox injections. The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony takes place Sunday night, hosted by the possibly unfunny Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Many assume the regal tear-jerker, The King's Speech, will be this year's big winner — though no one's counting out the incisive Mark Zuckerberg biopic The Social Network. Here, five things to look out for during Sunday evening's marathon show:
1. A Grease homage... on a "virtual reality" set
Franco and Hathaway have a madcap routine planned for the Oscars' opening sequence — a journey through Hollywood history on a "virtual reality set." They'll "visit" the fictional Rydell High, location of the 1978 John Travolta hit Grease. Video posted to Franco's Twitter feed showed the actors as the movie's leather-clad leads. "We're hoping for a 'You're the One That I Want' music number," says Sterling Wong at MTV. "The jaded youth demographic gets drawn in by cool kids James and Anne, and baby boomers get to bask in Grease nostalgia!"
2. No nasty jokes
After the ruckus over Ricky Gervais' "scathing" gags at the Golden Globes, Franco and Hathaway are steering clear of snark: "I have no business being cynical or calling anyone out," Hathaway has said. "I certainly haven't earned the right to do that."
3. Nominated song performances are back!
Unlike last year, when the "Best Song" nominees went unheard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mandy Moore, Florence Welch, and Randy Newman will each sing a nominated song. They might regret it, says Allison Stewart at The Washington Post. Past Oscars' musical numbers have been "ostentatiously awful" at times — anyone remember the "now-infamous Saving Private Ryan interpretative dance" of the 1999 ceremony? What a "hapless, protracted gaffe" that was.
4. The final "In Memoriam" tribute: Will it be Tony Curtis?
No extremely long Oscar ceremony would be complete without an "emotional and nostalgic" look back at the Tinseltown legends that passed away the previous year, says The Washington Post. But which deceased star will be judged sufficiently weighty to close the montage? "You could make a case for Leslie Nielsen," or Tony Curtis, but our money is on Dennis Hopper, "motorcycling down the endless sunny highways of Easy Rider." It's the way we'd like to remember him.
5. Banksy, aka Biebs
One star's outfit will likely receive more attention than any other: Whatever Oscar-nominated artist Banksy wears. The anonymous graffiti artist, nominated for his Exit Through the Gift Shop documentary, has been discouraged from attending in disguise. Now, nobody knows if he will break his cover to attend the ceremony, or attempt some characteristically surreal piece of performance art. In a perfect world, says Nick Allen at The Scorecard Review, the artist would show up to screen "a succession of horrific clips" from the year's worst movies, then reveal himself "to be... Justin Bieber."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- America's anti-feminist mega-corporations' toxic disregard for women must stop
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How foreign aid screwed up Liberia's ability to fight Ebola
Subscribe to the Week