As we get ready for tonight’s Oscars, there are plenty of things that seem destined to take place: Slumdog Millionaire‘s win for Best Picture, Heath Ledger’s Best Supporting Actor win, host Hugh Jackman singing and dancing, the show running for more than three hours.
But there at least five things we’ll be watching to see. We’ll be live-blogging the ceremony tonight, which you can participate in, too, so here’s what you should keep an eye out for.
5. Surprise presenters. rumour has it that Jennifer Aniston will be a presenter, with Jack Black, tonight. But while gossip columnists are hoping for a red carpet run-in between her and Brangelina, we’re not holding our breath. We think she’ll be one of the presenters who doesn’t walk the red carpet. And we’re still curious to see if she shows up and what award she and Jack give out. According to Nikki Finke, Reese Witherspoon will also be presenting an award, but Jack Nicholson, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, and Kate Winslet will not. (We have a feeling Kate will be making a trip to the podium anyway.)
4. Heath Ledger’s win. Pretty much everyone is expecting that Heath Ledger will win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. (If he doesn’t, it will be a shocking upset worth noting.) But what will happen when his name is called? Will there be a standing ovation? And who will actually accept the award on his behalf? Heath’s family is in town because they attended a benefit for a scholarship in his name Thursday night, and Academy tradition dictates that an artist or relative close to him should accept the Oscar but we don’t know who will be taking the stage.
3. The ads. Despite all of the chatter about who’s advertising and who’s not this year, no one knows all of the ads that ABC’s planning to run tonight. Keep your eyes peeled for the movie spots. We think there will be three: for Paramount’s The Soloist and Disney’s Up and The Proposal. But we wouldn’t be surprised if Disney sneaks a few more ads in there or even if studios we didn’t get around to—like Lionsgate, Summit, and The Weinstein Company—shelled out for an ad. Also, pay attention to how much self-promotion Disney/ABC engages in. The network had trouble filling its ad space, so we wouldn’t be surprised if we see a bunch of commercials for ABC shows, Disney’s theme parks, and even abc.com.
2. Best Song. A noteworthy category this year after Peter Gabriel publicly refused to perform a 65-second version of his three-minute song from Wall-E and M.I.A., nominated with A.R. Rahman for “O Saya” from Slumdog Millionaire, had a baby last week. Will M.I.A. show up? Who will perform Peter Gabriel’s song? And if neither of those two cuts are performed, will there just be a performance of “Jai Ho”? With dancing, à la the Slumdog finale?
1. Best Actor. Possibly the only big category with any suspense left. Experts are split on whether Sean Penn or Mickey Rourke will take the trophy. If Rourke gets it, he’ll probably make a YouTube worthy speech, as he’s done in the past. We haven’t seen Milk or The Wrestler, so we have no opinion on who deserves it more, but we’ll be interested to see what happens.