Alibi V.24 No.8 • Feb 19-25, 2015 

Idiot Box

Any Given Oscar Sunday

“The Oscars” on ABC

It’s been a couple of years since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rebranded “The 53rd (or whatever) Annual Academy Awards” as simply “The Oscars.” It still sounds too chummy, but it’s a boon to us in the publishing industry who can conserve a lot of words when reporting on the annual entertainment industry event.

“The Oscars” will take place this Sunday, Feb. 22. ABC is the hosting network, meaning local station KOAT-7 will be doing broadcasting duties. If you’re a superfan, festivities begin early with “Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live From the Red Carpet” (KOAT-7 5pm). ABC stars Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer and Michael Strahan will take over the red carpet on Hollywood Boulevard to ask arriving stars a string of inane questions—mostly in the “Who are you wearing?”/“Are you excited?” vein. But at least you’ll get to see all of the fashions. If you can’t wait until 5pm or you prefer other people asking the inane questions, you can tune in to “Live From the Red Carpet” (E! 3:27pm). There, Ryan Seacrest, Giuliana Rancic, Ross Mathews, Kelly Osbourne and Zanna Roberts Rassi will be in charge. At the very least, Rancic knows more about fashion than Michael Strahan.

The big, fat ceremony itself gets underway early in the evening. “The Oscars” (KOAT-7 6:30pm) will be hosted this year by Broadway-by-way-of-Ruidoso baby Neil Patrick Harris. Having proven himself a reliable, entertaining song-and-dance host for both the Emmys and the Tony Awards, Harris should be a welcome face on stage. Rounding out the entertainment will be musical performances by the likes of Common, John Legend, Rita Ora, Anna Kendrick, Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island.

This year’s awards could attract a lot of attention, since Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper—up for six Academy Awards—is entering the ranks of the highest-grossing Best Picture nominees. It’s also a politically controversial film, which should add to the atmosphere of the night. In fact, this year’s nominations seemed a bit more right-wing than is usual for Hollywood. To some, the biggest snub came when the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma failed to land a Best Director nomination for Ava DuVernay. It could be because Selma is DuVernay’s first theatrically released feature. It could be because DuVernay’s style was judged as not all that crucial to the success of the film. (Can you imagine Selma directed by another person? Probably. Can you imagine The Grand Budapest Hotel directed by someone else? Doubtful.) Or it could simply be that the Academy can now nominate 10 Best Picture hopefuls and only five Best Director hopefuls. As many as five directors are gonna get screwed every year. Welcome to the club, Ava.

At the end of the night, though, it’s looking like the Academy will support neither the Navy sniper nor the killed-by-a-sniper civil rights activist. Writer-director Richard Linklater and his easygoing, 12-year experiment in puberty, Boyhood, have snatched up Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, American Film Institute Awards and countless film critics association awards so far this year. Bank on hearing that title a lot on Oscar Sunday.