Billboard shout-out to ‘Lady Bird’ director
Hollywood is gearing up for its biggest night of the year, and the 2018 Oscars on Sunday could prove to be one of the most surprising ceremonies in quite some time.
Why, you ask? In the past two years since the #Oscarssowhite campaign, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has brought in a younger, more diverse contingent, which now accounts for about 20 percent of its 7,258 members.
Those new voters helped "Moonlight" become the unexpected best-picture winner in 2017, and they have made the 2018 race more difficult to predict but oh-so exciting to watch. Here's what you need to know before tuning into Sunday's show.
When and where to watch
Hoping to catch a close-up glimpse of the night's fashion statements – and faux pas? You can tune into ABC from 3:30-5 p.m. or E! from 2-5 p.m. Sunday for red-carpet coverage.
Prefer to focus on the awards ceremony itself? Turn on ABC from 5-8 p.m. for live coverage of the 90th Academy Awards. There are also opportunities to stream coverage of the Oscars ceremony, including ABC.com, YouTube, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and DirecTV, Vox reports.
Who is hosting?
Jimmy Kimmel will be back as the host of Hollywood's big night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Kimmel hosted last year's Oscars. (Remember when "La La Land" received the award for Best Picture when it was actually "Moonlight"?)
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kimmel said his plans -- other than being careful with the envelopes -- include "Play to the room. Stay Loose. Feed the crew."
"I don't want this show to go exactly as planned," Kimmel continued in the interview. "There have to be surprises."
The host said he plans to cover many subjects during the night, not just stick to one political topic.
Storylines of the night
Just how political will Oscar night get? There will be plenty for Kimmel and others to comment on, including the the #MeToo movement, which started in part because of allegations made against now-disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein, as well as the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
While some serious talk is expected, let's hope organizers remember that the Academy Awards is supposed to be -- a fun and glamorous celebration of cinema and its achievements.
Still, the Academy usually likes to make a statement about current culture with its best picture winner, and there is plenty of potential for that this year should Jordan Peele's racially charged horror film "Get Out" take home the top award, as some are predicting. However, the safer bet for best-picture winner is Guillermo Del Toro's beautifully crafted "Shape of Water," which features a message of compassion and inclusion in its unusual love story between a mute woman and a merman.
Lastly, there are some potential history-making moments, as Vox, Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter point out. Sacramento native Greta Gerwig, nominated for Best Director for "Lady Bird," is the fifth woman ever to be nominated in the category. Jordan Peele of "Get Out" is the first black filmmaker to be nominated for the trio of directing, writing and producing. He is only the third person ever to be nominated in all three of those categories as a first-time director – along with Warren Beatty and James L. Brooks. "Mudbound" has two notable nominations: Its writer-director, Dee Rees, has become the second black woman to be nominated for screenwriting, and cinematographer Rachel Morrison is the first woman to be nominated for Best Cinematography.
The odds 'Lady Bird' will win
Despite all of the buzz surrounding the Sacramento-based film, most forecasts have the cast and crew of "Lady Bird" getting snubbed in each of the five categories for which it is nominated: Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress. Insiders believe Laurie Metcalf, who plays Lady Bird's mother and who is up for the supporting actress award, has the best chance, with 10-to-3 odds.
On Saturday, Gerwig won the award for Best Screenplay for "Lady Bird" at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles.
The film also did score at the Golden Globes in early January this year, taking home awards for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
Can I watch any of the best picture nominees at home?
Nine films have been nominated for best picture this year, and seven of them currently are available for rent or purchase (depending on the title) should you choose to watch them before Sunday night.
"Call Me By Your Name" -- YouTube Movies, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon
"Darkest Hour" -- YouTube Movies, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon
"Dunkirk" -- YouTube Movies, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon
"Get Out" -- HBO, YouTube Movies, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon
"Lady Bird" -- YouTube Movies, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon
"The Shape of Water" -- YouTube Movies, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" -- YouTube Movies, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon
"Phantom Thread" and "The Post" aren't available online yet. However, both still are screening in theaters in Sacramento.