LOS ANGELES — It’s almost time to give a big hand to the Academy Awards.
OK, maybe we should rephrase that.
A year after Will Smith stepped onstage at the Dolby Theater and slapped Chris Rock across the face, the Oscars will reconvene on Sunday for a ceremony that will seek to upstage one of the most infamous moments in Academy Awards history .
The broadcast from Dolby in Los Angeles begins at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC. The broadcast can be streamed with a subscription to Hulu Live TV, YouTubeTV, AT&T TV, and Fubo TV. You can also stream the show on ABC.com and the ABC app by authenticating with your provider.
Jimmy Kimmel, the show’s first solo performer in five years, is hosting for the third time. The late-night comedian has promised to make some jokes about The Slap; It would be “ridiculous”, he said.
Bill Kramer, chief executive of the Film Academy, has said that given what happened last year, it was important “to have a host who can really pivot and manage those moments.”
Kimmel flashed his tongue in cheek Thursday on “Good Morning America,” saying “nobody got hurt when I hosted the show.” “Everyone was well behaved at my Oscars.”
Kimmel will preside over a ceremony where his all-time favorite picture “Everything Everywhere All at Once” could win big. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s action-comedy indie hit has a leading 11 nominations, including Michelle Yeoh and Ke Hui Kwan.
Producers are giving certain aspects of the Oscars a makeover. The carpet is champagne, not red. The broadcast is planned to be more interactive than ever.
But the Academy, which is still trying to find its footing after several years of pandemic and ratings struggles, is also hoping for an easier ride than last year. A crisis management team has been created to help better respond to surprises. The Academy last year called its response to Smith’s actions “inadequate”. Neither Rock, who recently gave his most forceful statement about the incident in a live special, nor Smith, who has been banned by the Academy for 10 years, is expected to attend.
The Academy Awards will instead attempt to recapture some of its former luster. One thing working in its favor: This year’s best picture field is packed with blockbusters. Ratings usually go up when the nominees are more popular, which is certainly the case with “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Avatar: The Way of Water” and, to a lesser extent, “Elvis” and “Everything Everywhere at Once.” Goes for.
But a late-breaking contender that could do well in the technical categories — where big movies often reign — is Netflix’s top nominee this year: German WWI epic “All Quiet on the Western Front.” It is up for nine awards, tied for second with the Irish dark comedy “The Banshees of Inishrin”. Netflix’s “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” also looks like a shoo-in for best animated film.
The musical performance at the awards will also have some star wattage. Fresh off her Super Bowl performance, Rihanna will perform “Lift Me Up,” the Oscar-nominated song from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” “This Is Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once” will be sung by supporting actress nominee Stephanie Hsu alongside David Byrne and the band Son Lux. Rahul Sipligunj and Kaal Bhairav will perform “Naatu Naatu” from the Indian action epic “RRR”. Lenny Kravitz will perform during the In Memoriam Tribute. (Lady Gaga, currently in production on a film, will not be performing her eponymous song “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick”.)
Last year, Apple TV’s “CODA” became the first streaming film to win Best Picture. But this year, nine of the 10 Best Picture nominees were theatrical releases. After the collapse of the film business during the pandemic, film production recovered to about 67% of pre-pandemic levels. But it was a tumultuous year, filled with thunderous hits at the cinema halls and worrying lulls.
At the same time, the rush for streaming faced new setbacks as studios questioned long-term profitability and re-examined their release strategies. This year, ticket sales have been strong for releases like “Creed III” and “Cocaine Bears.” But there are storm clouds on the horizon. The Writers Guild and major studios are set to begin contract talks on March 20, an looming battle that has much of the industry bracing for the possibility of a work stoppage in film and television.
Meanwhile, the Oscars are trying to reestablish their status as the premiere award show. Last year’s telecast attracted 16.6 million viewers, a 58% increase from the 2021 edition, which was watched by a record low 10.5 million.
Typically, the previous year’s acting winners present the awards for Best Actor and Best Actress. But this time it will not happen. Who will replace Smith in presenting Best Actress is one of the questions coming up at the ceremony.