Bigger stars, more music and edgier comedy are on the menu for Sunday's Oscar ceremony, when the most coveted awards in the movie industry are handed out during a glittering Academy Awards show.
Producers of the three-hour Oscar telecast at Hollywood's Dolby
Theatre are promising a faster-paced show and more face time with first-time
host Seth MacFarlane, while honouring the best films not just of 2012 but also
of decades past.
"We have more performances on that stage than we can
ever remember there being in the past. And we are not trotting people out just
to sing and dance. Every single thing you see on that stage will be related to
movies," said Craig Zadan, who is producing the Oscar telecast for the first
time with Neil Meron.
"We have devised ways that we are hoping will
make the pacing faster ... That doesn't mean we are not going to give as much
weight to honoring the winners, but there has been a lot of dead space in the
show (in the past)," Zadan told Reuters.
presidential movie "Lincoln" heads into Sunday's ceremony with a leading 12
nominations, followed by Ang Lee's shipwreck tale "Life of Pi" with 11, French
Revolutionary musical "Les Miserables" and romantic comedy "Silver Linings
Playbook" with eight apiece, and Iran hostage drama "Argo" with
All five are competing for Best Picture, the top prize, in a
tight race that has narrowed in recent weeks to "Lincoln" or "Argo" and will be
the last to be announced on Sunday night.
JAMES BOND AND
MUSICALS Before then, Zadan and Meron have assembled an array of
performers and presenters that almost outshine the actors, actresses, directors
and screenwriters who have been waiting since early January to see if they will
go home with a golden Oscar.
They include A-listers Barbra Streisand,
Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, John Travolta and Jennifer Aniston, along with
younger stars Daniel Radcliffe, Kristen Stewart and Joseph
But don't count on seeing all six surviving James Bond
actors on stage for the planned special 50th anniversary tribute to the British
secret agent's illustrious movie career.
"We have a tribute to
James Bond which is really exciting and thrilling, but it never included the
concept of six guys coming out and standing there awkwardly on the stage," Zadan
said, quashing speculation that Daniel Craig, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan,
Roger Moore, Sean Connery and George Lazenby would unite on
The nominations for "Les Miserables," where Anne Hathaway is
tipped to win Best Supporting Actress, has opened the door to a celebration of
the last decade of musicals.
The tribute will feature Hathaway, her
Oscar-nominated co-star Hugh Jackman, as well as "Dreamgirls" and "Chicago"
Oscar winners Jennifer Hudson and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
the creator of provocative animated TV series "Family Guy," will also be showing
off his vocal skills, and spending more time on stage than has been traditional
for Oscar hosts.
"What happens a lot in the past is that the host
comes on, talks for a lot, and then disappears for half an hour. We are not
doing that. We are having Seth be there a lot, out there introducing things, and
that allows for more pacing and comedy," said Zadan.
But there will
be plenty of room for the unpredictable - and that's not even counting possible
upsets when the winners' envelopes are unsealed.
"We love the fact
that people don't quite know what they're going to get with Seth as a host,"
said Meron. "We live for the moments that happen on stage. Those are some of the
great Oscar moments of the past."
The Oscar winners are chosen by
some 5,800 movie industry professionals who are members of the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences.
The Academy Awards ceremony, in its 85th
year, will be broadcast live on ABC television in the United States, and to more
than 225 other nations.