If one were to summarize the 2017 awards season with one word, it might as well be agitating. The season revealed the film industry’s own hypocrisy by failing to keep the promises it made at last year’s ceremony. From the racial controversy that followed “La La Land” (2016) to the questionable nominations of Casey Affleck and Mel Gibson, the industry regrettably undermined last year’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign as well as the iconic statement Lady Gaga made in her performance of “Till It Happens to You” (2015) surrounding sexual assault. Furthermore, the season snubbed many lesser-known gems in favor of the mainstream, including Meryl Streep over Annette Bening. Given the ceremony’s history of exclusion and predictability, here is a quick roundup on what to expect this Sunday night:
In 2009, Academy members decided to increase the number of Best Picture nominations from five to 10. Two years later, they decided to revise the rules and announced that the number of nominations would be between five and 10. Yet none of the changes actually mattered. As time has proven, the race is generally always between two movies. In this year’s case, it’s between three, but the competition is also admittedly less stiff. While “Manchester by the Sea” (2016) and “Moonlight” (2016) might make the cut, chances are the big winner will be “La La Land” (2016). Do not expect any major surprises from this year’s primary categories, save the competitive Best Actress category. While Natalie Portman surely deserves to win just for the eerily-accurate voice impression of Jackie Kennedy in “Jackie” (2016), Emma Stone might also snatch the prize with “La La Land.”
The days of risqué red carpet fashion are long gone. Nowadays, people top the ‘worst dressed’ lists for being too lazy. While the MTV Video Music Awards leave viewers plenty of opportunities to question certain choices, it is sad to see that the days of the swan dress are no longer. In fact, looks such as Whoopi Goldberg’s neon green and purple dress/tracksuit at the 2012 Oscars or Uma Thurman’s cheap 2004 Oktoberfest-esque outfit should be cherished in our minds forever. While stars occasionally choose to freshen the carpet a bit (like Emma Watson’s jeans-under-dress look at the 2014 Golden Globes that totally worked), it is best to keep fashion expectations low this year.
Some might question why model and television personality Heidi Klum was invited to the awards ceremony in 2016, even though she did not act in a movie that hit theaters the previous year. While the Academy did not invite transgender musician Antoni Hegarty to perform her Oscar-nominated song “Manta Ray” (2015) last year, it surely did invite irrelevant celebrities in an attempt to keep the ceremony relevant. Truth be told, even the producers knew that Klum’s dress would draw more attention than an environmentally-conscious song. While Hegarty’s decision to skip the event had little media exposure, Klum’s fashion faux pas made all the headlines the day after the ceremony. Who will skip the ceremony this year, and which increasingly obscure celebrities will inexplicably show up? Only time will tell.
Inconsistent Speech Cut-offs
The current political climate — especially the Trump administration’s dealing with immigration, environment and women’s rights — will surely leave a lot for politically-conscious Oscar winners to talk about. While viewers can expect a full-on speech from A-listers without any time restrictions, they should also anticipate other winners’ speeches to be cut off much more quickly, as has been the case in years past. The irony in this, of course, is that less well-known directors who make documentaries about these issues are more likely to be experts.
Predictable wins, boring outfits and silenced marginalized identities have long been a redeeming quality of the awards ceremony. It is too bad Beyoncé has hit pause on acting, because at this point, only she can save the Oscars.