The Academy Awards, which used to be a big deal, arrive Sunday on ABC.
And this time, they might draw some interest. They have a host, some songs, a studio audience … and some movies (including “Elvis,” shown here) people have seen.
We used to take that for granted, until things crumbled. There were two no-audience pandemic years … three no-host years … and a year with no songs during the main show. Also, nominees were obscure.
Now all of that seems to be behind us. Here’s an overview of the night; also, alongside this are two Oscar features — on front-runner Ke Huy Quan and on the oft-overlooked documentary categories:
There will be Oscar previews on ABC (1-4 pm. ET), the ABC News Live streamer (starting at 1:30 p.m.) and the E cable channel (3-5 p.m.)
At 5, E launches its red-carpet coverage. ABC will be there at 6:30, hosted by actress Vanessa Hudgens, model Ashley Graham and Lilly Singh, a comedian, actress and former late-night talk host.
That’s 8-11 p.m., ET with lots of effort to entertain us. The nadir came in 2021, with no host (for the third straight year), no songs and little fun. Things bounced back last year; this time, the Oscars have:
— Jimmy Kimmel returning as host. It’s his first time in five years as Oscar host, but in 2020 he brought surprising fun while hosting the Emmys, despite having no studio audience.
— The nominated songs, some offering starpower. It will be “Lift Me Up” (from “Wakanda Forever”) sung by Rihanna … “Applause” (from “Tell It Like a Woman”) by Sofia Carson … “Naatu Naatu” by two actors from the movie, “RRR” … And “This Is a Life” (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) by David Byrne, the Son Lux trio and Stephanie Hsu. Still pending, as Oscar week began, was “Hold My Hand,” which Lady Gaga sang in “Top Gun: Maverick.”
— The presenters, emphasizing marquee names, not humor. The first batch did include Melissa McCarthy, alongside Dwayne Jakson, Ariana Debose, Samuel L. Jackson, Emily Blunt, Zoe Saldana, Glenn Close, Michael B. Jordan, Janelle Monae, Troy Kotsur and Questlove.
THE NOMINATED FILMS
Unlike some years, the best-picture nominees are ones viewers are aware of. Some of the films:
— Scored at the box office. In the U.S. and Canada, “Top Gun: Maverick” made $719 million and “Avatar: Way of the Water” topped $670 million. “Elvis” made $151 million and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” made $73 million, sliding past $100 million once you include other countries.
— Are streaming now. Paramount+ has “Top Gun: Maverick” and its Showtime+ branch has “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” HBO Max has “Elvis” and “The Banshees of Inisherin.” Peacock has “Tar” and Netflix has “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which never reached theaters.
— Are renting. “Triangle of Sadness,” “Women Talking” and “The Fabelmans” are on Amazon, etc..
— Are on cable. On Saturday (Oscar eve), people can catch “Everything Everywhere All at Once” at 6:35 p.m. on Showtime or “Top Gun: Maverick” at 10 p.m. on MGM+ (formerly Epix). MGM+ even repeats “Top Gun: Maverick” from 6:45 to 9 p.m. Sunday, colliding with the Oscars.
— In a fresh approach, ABC will air an hourlong edition of “American Idol.” In the West Coast, that will be right after the Oscars, at 8 p.m. PT or so; elsewhere, local stations air the news first, with “Idol” airing at 11:35 p.m. or so.
— E also has s post-Oscar show, from 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET.