It’s that special time of year again, when people of all ages get angry at each other online over the favourite films of a predominantly white, male group of people. Yes, The Oscars are back, and this time the discourse around the crowning jewel of the film awards calendar is more toxic than ever.

On the bright side, the Academy Awards ceremony itself enjoyed a breath of fresh air last year, with the show not having a host for the first time in 30 years paying dividends, and a good handful of winners which very few saw coming – for better or worse – made the whole thing feel slightly less interminable than previous years.
That said, there are some things one can be sure – or at least fairly confident – of appearing in this year’s ceremony, and so here are a few things on which good money can be safely placed.

The interminable red carpet coverage

Because the ceremony itself isn’t long enough on its own, the bit where those invited spend hours walking from their car to the Dolby Theatre also needs extensive coverage. Who will be the best dressed? Who will make some sort of statement about climate change in their wardrobe choice, before jetting off privately to their next acting gig? Find out in about 20 listicles on the same site the following morning! (Yes, I’m fully aware of the irony of mocking listicles within a list, thank you very much.)

A musical opening from someone (or someones) popular

Since last year got off to a rollicking start with Adam Lambert & Queen reminding everyone that, like the film Bohemian Rhapsody, there’s nothing Brian May and Roger Taylor won’t do to help their egos and bank balances, this year will absolutely have someone getting the party started with a good old fashioned song and dance. Reports suggest it’ll be Billie Eilish, who is not only a decent booking to get the Gen-Z lot watching, but will also likely be back in nominee mode in 2021 for her upcoming Bond theme, barring the unlikely event that the song is godawful – but then, that didn’t stop Sam Smith.

Presenters from films which should have been nominated

The lack of an outright host means a heap of people involved in announcing the awards’ winners, introducing performances of best song nominees, introducing videos about the Best Picture nominees, convincing everyone that the Academy’s white elephant of a film museum is definitely opening soon guys, honest, etc. It’s also a fun opportunity to remember the awards-worthy films which weren’t seen by Academy voters, such as Honey BoyJust Mercy and Peanut Butter Falcon, when the stars of the aforementioned films take to the stage to applaud their actually-nominated peers.

Jokes about Cats, aka the lowest possible hanging fruit

Poor Cats. Poor terrifying, rubbish Cats, fated to be made fun of mid-ceremony by James Corden and/or Rebel Wilson in a throwaway one-liner at best, a painfully awkward category introduction in full costume at worst. It’ll be regarded as a highlight of the night and will do the rounds on YouTube plus the social media channel of your choice, thus Tom Hooper’s decade-long fall from grace since The King’s Speech undeservedly won against literally every other film released that same year, including all parodies, broadcast or otherwise, of The King’s Speech.

At least one comment on the lack of diversity among nominees

The nominee list for this year’s Oscars are startlingly homogenous for the most part, with Parasite being the only one of the nine Best Picture candidates not all about white people, and Harriet‘s Cynthia Erivo the one actor across four acting categories who is a person of colour. Given the amazing range of performances from actors across a wealth of backgrounds in 2019, it’s especially narrow-minded for Academy voters to have settled on the nominees they have. No doubt there’ll be a remark on the big stage in the spirit of Issa Rae’s ‘congratulations to those men’ response to the all-male list in this year’s directing category, not that anything will change down the line…

The whole thing will feel overlong and ultimately not please anybody

It’s a bit of a gimme one to finish things off, but any hopes that this year will be the one where watching The Oscars feels like time well spent – unless you’re, you know, there – are optimistic at best.
If the ceremony itself feels like an ordeal to get through, it’ll be nothing in comparison to the inevitable reaction from commentators across the film community for at least a week.
Still, with the awards season set to wrap on Sunday night/Monday morning, thank goodness that we’ll all soon be spared the seemingly endless scorn from opinion-havers for daring to like a film that others didn’t.
Oh who am I kidding, it’s going to be like this through blockbuster season too. Christ, remember when talking about films was fun?

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