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What to expect from the most unusual Oscars

What to expect from the most unusual Oscars
From CBC - March 4, 2018

In the run-up to the 90th Academy Awards, Jennifer Todd, one of the show's lead producers, has talked about keeping the focus on the films.

With ratings for awards shows sagging, Todd told the New York Times last week that Oscarproducers are hoping for a nightfilled with "fun and funny" performancesand plan to make it "as entertaining as possible."

ButHollywood is not exactly in a celebratory mood.

Harvey Weinstein, once the General Patton of Oscar campaigners, is facing criminal investigations for sexual harassment. Meanwhile, former Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey was literally erased from an Oscar-contending film when allegations against him came to light.

'A giant commercial for the movie business'

The unique moment of reckoningHollywood is struggling with is nowhere near the "giant commercial for the movie business" Todd described in the Times.

Indeed, the early teaser trailers promise just that: a frothy mixture of superheroes and cinema with ananything-can-happenatmosphere.

In contrast to the razzle dazzle from the Oscar highlight reel, however, the mood on the red carpet might be decidedly more sober.

While no co-ordinated black-coloured dress code is planned, expect to see stars facing awkward questions. For the Oscars each year, the humdrum Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles transforms itself intoone of the most glamorous blocks in America, but this timethe focus has shifted from fluff and fashion to questions of accountability.

One familiar Oscar staple sure to be striving to strike the right tone is Ryan Seacrest. The E!network host hasvehemently denied asexual harassment allegationfrom his former stylist Suzie Hardy. For the moment, E! is standing by Seacrest,who is still scheduled tohostthe network'sred carpet coverage. But some celebrities are wondering whether they stop and chat with him.

Once the glitterati are seated inside the Dolby Theatre,the question will be whether organizers acknowledgethe cultural forces confronting the industry.

Timely presenters

As per usual, producers are promising a mix of montages and musicals. Gael GarciaBernalwill sing Remember Me from Coco, whileSufjanStevens will reprise his original number fromCall Me by Your Name.

It's worth noting that, for the night's presenters, Oscarproducershaverecruited an array of topical and timely talent. Though many have pointed out the lack of Latino Academy Award nominees, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gina Rodriguez and Oscar Isaac were among the firstwave of celebrities announced as presenters.

In a nod to #MeTooand the Time's Up movement, Laura Dern and Ashley Judd will also be front and centre as presenters. Bothhave spoken out as survivors of sexual harassment and assault: Juddwas one of the first to speak out publicly about allegations against Weinstein.

And the winner is?

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