A worker assembles a backdrop along the carpet during preparations for Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards, Friday, March 10, 2023, in Los Angeles.InternationalIndiaAfricaFrom the “champagne” carpet picked instead of the iconic red, to a “crisis team” on standby to prevent a rerun of on-stage capers like the Will Smith slap, the 95th Academy Awards has its share of novel tweaks, with its live telecast expecting bumper viewer ratings.If anything, the 2023 edition of the 95th Academy Awards can be relied on to serve up a generous dose of pomp and splendor. After all, that is what the Oscars have become synonymous with. The ceremony, hosted by the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, is scheduled for Sunday, March 12, at 8 p.m. Eastern time (5 p.m. Pacific).
Nix on Red Carpet
As any theater starts with a foyer, so the Oscars gala preshow typically begins with the red carpet… oops, not quite… The star-studded lineup of guests will be striding and posing for photos on a “champagne” hued carpet this time, which critics have already dubbed “tote bag beige.”However, the gala’s creative consultant Lisa Love waxed lyrical earlier, telling media:“We chose this beautiful sienna, saffron color that evokes the sunset, because this is the sunset before the golden hour.”© AP Photo / Chris PizzelloCrew members roll out the carpet outside the Dolby Theatre on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, in Los Angeles in preparation for Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards. Crew members roll out the carpet outside the Dolby Theatre on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, in Los Angeles in preparation for Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards.
‘Will Smith Slap’ Ripples
Aired live on ABC, the extravaganza is again to be hosted, after a break, by television host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel. Of course, Kimmel couldn’t but mention the notorious Will Smith slap incident that marred last year’s gala. Academy Awards presenter Chris Rock had made a joke about the appearance of Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, triggering Will Smith to walk up on stage and slap the comedian at last year’s Oscars.
"Well, I have been studying the martial arts since they asked me to host the show, so I think that's what they're referring to. The truth of the matter is I am not ready for anything. I'm ready for some things, but anything that involves violence or me having to run, I'm very not ready," Kimmel told journalists.
Indeed, the organizers have gone out of their way to rule out a repeat of last year’s antics (despite the slap having allegedly boosted viewer ratings). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has since created what they call a “crisis team” to handle any real-time incidents.Earlier, in a pre-show interview with Good Morning America, Kimmel joked that “Nobody got hit when I hosted the show,” triggering speculation that the comedian might have some “Will Smith slap” jokes up his sleeve for the ceremony itself.
In another first for this Oscars gala, Will Smith, who won the Best Actor award last year and would typically be expected to come back to present the award for Best Actress, will be conspicuously absent. After the slap furor, he announced his resignation from the Academy, while he was subsequently banned from the Oscars ceremonies for 10 years.© AFP 2023 / Richard ShotwellSalma Hayek arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.Salma Hayek arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.However, the line-up of A-list presenters this year is star-studded, featuring Harrison Ford, Halle Berry, Dwayne Johnson, Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek Pinault, Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Glenn Close, Sigourney Weaver, Andrew Garfield, Emily Blunt, Pedro Pascal, Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors, Mindy Kaling, Melissa McCarthy, Ariana DeBose, and others.© Twitter/@NFLRihanna at the Super Bowl Halftime ShowRihanna at the Super Bowl Halftime Show
Best Song Show-Stoppers
Some of the Oscars’ Best Song nominations will be presented live on stage by big names like Rihanna, who recently gave a show-stopping performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. The singer herself has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song for “Lift Me Up” from the movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.Among the other Best Song nominee performances, actress and singer Sofia Carson will be joined by Diane Warren to give a rendition of “Applause”, from the movie “Tell It Like A Woman.”However, the hotly-tipped Indian duo of Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava, who will also perform live, are seen by many as favorites to score an Oscar for the hit “Naatu Naatu” from the film “RRR.” The song won the Golden Globes 2023 in January.© Photo : TwitterTwitter screenshot showing the Naatu Naatu song from the Indian film RRR winning the Golden Globes 2023.Twitter screenshot showing the Naatu Naatu song from the Indian film RRR winning the Golden Globes 2023.
What Else is New?
A new tweak to the telecast this time is that every category awarded at the Oscars will be televised, unlike during last year’s event. Another record-breaker is the number of actors of Asian descent vying for the coveted statuettes. Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu and Hong Chau are all nominated for Best Supporting-actor honors. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” star Michelle Yeoh – only the second Asian actress ever to be nominated – is hoping to snag Best Actress. Malaysian-born Yeoh has already stacked up an impressive array of prizes throughout the 2022-2023 awards season. © AFP 2023 / Jordan StraussMIchelle Yeoh poses in the press room with the award for best lead performance for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, March 4, 2023.MIchelle Yeoh poses in the press room with the award for best lead performance for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, March 4, 2023.
Action-comedy hit “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” which has been on a roll, scooping up the season’s awards, appears to have the momentum to seize Best Picture, Best Director (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) and, possibly, a few acting categories. The black comedy about a woman who sees her versions in parallel dimensions has been nominated in 11 categories.© Photo : Ley Line Entertainment 2022Everything Everywhere All at OnceEverything Everywhere All at Once
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONTMalte Grunert, ProducerAVATAR: THE WAY OF WATERJames Cameron and Jon Landau, ProducersTHE BANSHEES OF INISHERINGraham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, ProducersELVISBaz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss, ProducersEVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCEDaniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert and Jonathan Wang, ProducersTHE FABELMANSKristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, ProducerTÁRTodd Field, Alexandra Milchan and Scott Lambert, ProducersTOP GUN: MAVERICKTom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison and Jerry Bruckheimer, ProducersTRIANGLE OF SADNESSErik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober, ProducersWOMEN TALKINGDede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Frances McDormand, ProducersKey pretenders for the main prize, besides Everything Everywhere All At Once, are James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Joseph Kosinski’s “Top Gun: Maverick” and “The Fabelmans” by Steven Spielberg.© Photo : TwitterTwitter screenshot showing main Oscars’ nominations for 2023.Twitter screenshot showing main Oscars’ nominations for 2023.
THE BANSHEES OF INISHERINMartin McDonaghEVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCEDaniel Kwan and Daniel ScheinertTHE FABELMANSSteven SpielbergTÁRTodd FieldTRIANGLE OF SADNESSRuben ÖstlundIn this category, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, of Everything Everywhere All At Once, are seen by many as the favorites. However, Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans is singled out by many as the “dark Horse.”The film is based on Spielberg’s memoirs about his childhood. Critics believe that the film is the main pretender for the key prize, having been described as “breathtaking.” © Photo : Amblin Entertainment 2022The FabelmansThe Fabelmans
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE NOMINEES
CATE BLANCHETTTárANA DE ARMASBlondeANDREA RISEBOROUGHTo LeslieMICHELLE WILLIAMSThe FabelmansMICHELLE YEOHEverything Everywhere All at Once The favorite for scooping Best Actress is Michelle Yeoh, from Everything Everywhere All At Once. However, some critics suggest not overlooking Cate Blanchett in Tár.© AP Photo / Arthur Mola/InvisionАктриса Кейт БланшеттАктриса Кейт Бланшетт
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE NOMINEES
AUSTIN BUTLERElvisCOLIN FARRELLThe Banshees of InisherinBRENDAN FRASERThe WhalePAUL MESCALAftersunBILL NIGHYLivingWhile Colin Farrell, for The Banshees of Inisherin, is seen by many as a likely winner, some are betting on Brendan Fraser.© AFP 2023 / Jordan StraussBrendan Fraser, winner of the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role for “The Whale,” poses in the press room at the 29th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.Brendan Fraser, winner of the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role for “The Whale,” poses in the press room at the 29th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.Among other favorites at the Oscars is Everything Everywhere All At Once’s Ke Huy Quan for supporting actor, while Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio could scoop up the feature animation prize.ViralPanic Over Will Smith Oscars Slap Prompts Creation of ‘Crisis Team’ for Future Incidents 23 February, 21:17 GMT