Forget Kevin Hart. Even before the comedian signed on to host the 91st Academy Awards, then dropped out, then went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and implied he’d be interested in coming back, this year’s ceremony reeked of desperation.
Way back in September, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences floated the idea of an Oscar honoring the year’s most “popular” movies. The reason? Get movies people have actually seen included in the telecast, in the hopes of reviving ratings that have been sinking for years.
Since then, the folks behind the show have announced a number of odd choices, eager to court a younger demographic whose television habits skew more toward using their friend’s cousin’s dog’s HBO Go password, not tuning into a live awards show. On Feb. 12, it was announced that some categories like Best Cinematography would not air. Before that, it was the idea that only two of the five Best Original Song nominees would perform.
All of these decisions have been reversed. The show remains hostless, for the first time in 30 years. The Oscars are a hot mess.
So what will the actual show look like? What will the producers trot out to stoke the viral flames of Twitter? Just the other day, we learned that Queen and Adam Lambert will kick off the show airing Sunday on ABC, Bohemian Rhapsody’s Best Picture nod proving a convenient way to air a mini concert by one of the most popular bands ever. If you had told us that would happen six months ago, we would have thought it was just as far-fetched as these other five potential scenarios.
The Avengers take a giant group selfie.
The cast of Marvel’s Avengers movies are among a slew of big presenters at this year’s show. And even if it’s just Don Cheadle and Jeremy Renner holding court in the Dolby Theatre, you bet ABC, which airs the telecast, will go to great lengths to remind you that Avengers: Endgame debuts in a mere two months. Especially since, for the first time, a fellow Marvel movie (Black Panther) is nominated for Best Picture.
The Obamas show up.
Okay, maybe not both of them, but at least one. Michelle Obama surprised everyone by taking the stage ahead of a Motown tribute at the Grammys on Feb. 10. Why not President Barack to introduce a Best Picture nominee? We know he liked Roma and Black Panther!
Awkwafina hands out snacks.
There is a robust tradition of audience participation via food at these awards: Ellen DeGeneres ordered pizza for the audience in 2017; Jimmy Kimmel gave every guest a snack-filled lunchbox last year. With at least three actors from Crazy Rich Asians slated to present - scene-stealer Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh and Constance Wu - it feels like we could get some sort of moment where the women of this wildly popular 2018 movie lead a group activity.
'Toy Story’ characters show up, in human or cartoon form.
Toy Story 4 comes out this summer, and there are a number of charming voice actors who could take the stage to remind us of this fact. The most obvious pairing is Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, Woody and Buzz in the flesh. But early trailers for the Pixar sequel go all in on a pair of new characters, Ducky and Bunny, voiced by Jordan Peele (an Oscar winner for Get Out) and Keegan-Michael Key (an American treasure). Will the Key & Peele pair reunite for a gag that will probably prove why they’d make great Oscars hosts? Will the show employ clever animation to have their fluffy counterparts present an award?
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga declare their love for each other.
I know Bradley has a girlfriend, but wouldn’t this be a thrilling ending to A Star Is Born’s somewhat confusing Oscars season? The movie debuted to a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival but will probably go home nearly empty-handed Sunday night. Cooper and Gaga will perform their Best Original Song nominee Shallow during the show, and Cooper made it a point to say he won’t perform as his character Jackson Maine but as Bradley Cooper. Character or not, the two have wild chemistry. Tell me something boy, aren’t you tried tryin’ to fill that void?
The 91st Academy Awards are at 8 p.m. Sunday on ABC.