Better known these days as the Oscars rather than the Academy Awards, arguably the biggest night in film is happening this Sunday in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, broadcast on ABC.

There have been a few awards programs leading up to the Oscars, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs, and a definite pattern has been forming. It seems that “Roma,” the black-and-white film written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, is the one to beat. The star is fading for “A Star is Born,” which has picked up minimal awards since the season began. Despite the love heaped upon Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper by fans worldwide, it seems it is no match for the little Mexican movie that could.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” has had scattered success. Although critics praised Rami Malek in the lead role of iconic singer, Freddie Mercury, the film’s reception was somewhere between lukewarm and hot. His biggest rival is Christian Bale, whose turn as Vice President Dick Cheney in “Vice” has won him praise and awards. They both won Golden Globes for Best Actor in different categories, but the Oscars have them in the same category, so they can run but they can’t hide.

When it comes to the Best Actress category, Glenn Close and Olivia Colman appear to be the frontrunners. Glenn Close was magnificent in “The Wife,” while Olivia Colman as Queen Anne in “The Favourite” ticks all the boxes for a command performance. It has to be said that at this point, Lady Gaga would be a shock win (which would be nice, if for no other reason than to add some excitement to the evening).

Controversy

The Academy has had its share of issues this year, more than those that have gone before. For the first time, there will be no host. Kevin Hart was slated to lead the charge, but after the resurfacing of some homophobic tweets from the past, he stepped down and no replacement was found. In the end, the Academy decided to go host-less. This may cut back what has become a very bloated affair to its scheduled running time of three hours, which would be good, as the organization’s attempt to do so by cutting four awards from the main broadcast caused an uproar in the industry. It was originally announced that the categories for cinematography, film editing, makeup and hairstyling and live-action short would be aired in a shortened, taped segment during the broadcast. Directors and actors the likes of Martin Scorsese and Brad Pitt, joining forces with The American Society of Cinematographers, put paid to that idea immediately and the Academy backed down.

Elegant dresses are nice, but some of us long for the days of fabulous Cher, seen here in Bob Mackie.

Why on earth the producers do not shorten, or completely eliminate, some of the (usually) dreadful banter between presenters is another question. How many winners have had their moment at the microphone cut short by the swelling of the orchestra? Meanwhile, audience members and those watching at home have cringed through interminable, awkwardly scripted interactions between actors holding the magic envelope.

Eliminate that chaff and embrace the wheat.

Red carpet

Imagine how early those on the west coast have to rise to look that good by red carpet time. Don’t forget that they are three hours behind eastern time. It is a long day for celebrities in California.

Giuliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest are all over the great and the good like a rash with every outfit dissected and critiqued. Much like the pre-Super Bowl coverage, the Oscars red carpet is avidly watched by those fascinated with Tinseltown.

Who is wearing what designer, what shoes are they teetering in, and what jewels have Harry Winston been kind enough to lend? Please, let’s have a Cher or a Bjork on the carpet this year. Elegant can get boring after a while. Look for actors like Timotheé Chalamet to step outside the box of your average tuxedo.

The Oscars air on ABC at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday night.

B E S T   P I C T U R E

❍             Black Panther

❍             BlacKkKlansman

❍             Bohemian Rhapsody

❍             The Favourite

❍             Green Book

❍             Roma

❍             A Star Is Born

❍             Vice

B E S T   D I R E C T O R

❍             Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

❍             Paweł Pawlikowski, Cold War

❍             Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite

❍             Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

❍             Adam McKay, Vice

B E S T   A C T R E S S

❍             Yalitza Apricio, Roma

❍             Glenn Close, The Wife

❍             Olivia Colman, The Favourite

❍             Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

❍             Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

B E S T   A C T O R

❍             Christian Bale, Vice

❍             Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

❍             Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

❍             Rami Malek, Bohemia Rhapsody

❍             Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

B E S T   S U P P O R T I N G   A C T R E S S

❍             Amy Adams, Vice

❍             Marina De Tavira, Roma

❍             Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

❍             Emma Stone, The Favourite

❍             Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

B E S T   S U P P O R T I N G   A C T O R

❍             Mahershala Ali, Green Book

❍             Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

❍             Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born

❍             Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

❍             Sam Rockwell, Vice

B E S T   V I S U A L   E F F E C T S

❍             Avengers: Infinity War

❍             Christopher Robin

❍             First Man

❍             Ready Player One

❍             Solo: A Star Wars Story

B E S T   F I L M   E D I T I N G

❍             BlacKkKlansman

❍             Bohemian Rhapsody

❍             The Favourite

❍             Green Book

❍             Vice

B E S T   O R I G I N A L   S C O R E

❍             Black Panther

❍             BlacKkKlansman

❍             If Beale Street Could Talk

❍             Isle of Dogs

❍             Mary Poppins Returns

B E S T   O R I G I N A L   S O N G

❍             “All the Stars,” Black Panther

❍             “I’ll Fight,” RGB

❍             “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns

❍             “Shallow,” A Star Is Born

❍             “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

B E S T   C I N E M A T O G R A P H Y

❍             Cold War

❍             The Favourite

❍             Never Look Away

❍             Roma

❍             A Star Is Born

B E S T   C O S T U M E   D E S I G N

❍             The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

❍             Black Panther

❍             The Favourite

❍             Mary Poppins Returns

❍             Mary Queen of Scots

M A K E U P   A N D   H A I R S T Y L I N G

❍             Border

❍             Mary Queen of Scots

❍             Vice

B E S T   O R I G I N A L   S C R E E N P L A Y

❍             The Favourite

❍             First Reformed

❍             Green Book

❍             Roma

❍             Vice

B E S T   A D A P T E D   S C R E E N P L A Y

❍             The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

❍             BlacKkKlansman

❍             Can You Ever Forgive Me?

❍             If Beale Street Could Talk

❍             A Star Is Born

B E S T   D O C U M E N T A R Y   F E A T U R E

❍             Free Solo

❍             Hale County This Morning, This Evening

❍             Minding the Gap

❍             Of Fathers And Sons

❍             RBG

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FEATURE

❍             Black Sheep

❍             End Game

❍             Lifeboat

❍             A Night at the Garden

❍             Period. End of Sentence.

P R O D U C T I O N   D E S I G N

❍             Black Panther

❍             The Favourite

❍             First Man

❍             Mary Poppins Returns

❍             Roma

S O U N D   M I X I N G

❍             Black Panther

❍             Bohemian Rhapsody

❍             First Man

❍             Roma

❍             A Star Is Born

S O U N D   E D I T I N G

❍             Black Panther

❍             Bohemian Rhapsody

❍             First Man

❍             A Quiet Place

❍             Roma

L I V E   A C T I O N   S H O R T   F I L M

❍             Detainment

❍             Fauve

❍             Marguerite

❍             Mother

❍             Skin

F O R E I G N   L A N G U A G E   F I L M

❍             Capernaum

❍             Cold War

❍             Never Look Away

❍             Roma

❍             Shoplifters

B E S T   A N I M A T E D   F E A T U R E

❍             Incredibles 2

❍             Isle of Dogs

❍             Mirai

❍             Ralph Breaks the Internet

❍             Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

A N I M A T E D   S H O R T   F I L M

❍             Animal Behaviour

❍             Bao

❍             Late Afternoon

❍             One Small Step

❍             Weekends

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