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Everything You Need to Know About the 94th Academy Awards (So Far)

This year’s 94th Oscar ceremony takes place on Sunday, March 27th, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC. Nominations were announced on February 8, with Jane Campion’s moody Western “The Power of the Dog” claiming the lion’s share with 12. It could become the first Netflix production to win the Best Picture. Last year’s event took place at Union Station in Los Angeles in late April, when “Nomadland” took Best Picture. Most of the usual glitz and glam of the yearly event was eschewed due to COVID-19 protocols. The show also didn’t have a host—the third Oscars in a row not to have an emcee. It ended up the least-watched Oscars since the 1974 ceremony, when Nielsen began keeping records of viewership. But this year’s event is returning to the show’s usual venue, the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles, which includes rolling out the red carpet once more. 

Will there be an actual host this year? 

Not only will there be an emcee, there will be three funny ladies taking turns on stage—namely, Amy Schumer, who will kick off the show, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall, with each overseeing one hour of the telecast. Will Packer, the producer of the show, worked with Hall on the 2017 comedy film “Girls Trip.” As for Schumer, she has a new TV show, “Life & Beth,” that will stream on Hulu, which shares ABC’s parent company, Disney. Sykes has made appearances on ABC’s comedy series, “Black-ish.” Hall also stars in “Master,” premiering on Prime Video March 18th. It’s the first time since the 59th Oscars in 1987, when “Platoon” won Best Picture, that there will be three separate hosts—back then it was Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, and Paul Hogan. Directing the show for the seventh year in a row is Glenn Weiss, who has won two Emmys for helming the annual Oscar telecast. 

What is the ceremony’s theme this year? 

It’s “Movie Lovers Unite,” which is part of the new “Oscar Fan Favorite” contest that ran until March 3rd. The Academy teamed up with Twitter to host the contest, where users voted for their favorite film of the year and their favorite movie moment. The two with the most votes will be announced during the show. Fans shared their picks on Twitter using the hashtags #OscarsFanFavorite and #OscarsCheerMoment and on the Oscar fan favorite website. The winner will receive an award at the ceremony. Select participants could win a trip to next year’s Oscars, where they could present an award to a winner on stage. For those in the know, these two contests echo the idea of the “Popular Oscar,” which was proposed in 2018 and then canned.   

How will the Academy deal with pandemic protocols for attendees?  

The Academy is not requiring proof of vaccination or the wearing of masks for all attendees. This issue is opposed to other upcoming awards telecasts demands, including the Critics Choice Awards on March 13 and the Screen Actors Guild on February 27. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will instead require only nominees and invited guests, which amounts to 2,500 attendees, to show proof of vaccination (with or without a booster). As for onstage performers and presenters, they must show a negative PCR test or a negative rapid antigen test on the day of the event. Vaccines are not required but are strongly encouraged. 

Who is performing at the 2022 Oscars? 

It’s still unclear whether musical performances will be live or prerecorded (as they were last year), but among those who could be hitting the stage are Best Original Song nominees like Beyoncé (for “Be Alive” from “King Richard”), Billie Eilish (for “No Time To Die”), Lin-Manuel Miranda (for “Dos Oruguitas” from “Encanto”), Van Morrison (for “Down to Joy” from “Belfast”), and Diane Warren (for “Somehow You Do” from “Four Good Days”). 

Which stars will be presenting Oscars onstage? 

It is a tradition in the performing categories that last year’s Best Actor winner, namely Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”), presents the gold statuette to this year’s Best Actress, and last year’s Best Actress Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) will likely hand the trophy to the new Best Actor. Same with the supporting champs last year, Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) and Youn Yuh-Jung (“Minari”). The Academy has revealed that they plan to highlight some famous pairs from movie history but the list of announced presenters so far doesn’t reveal those partnerships and includes: Ruth E. Carter, Kevin Costner, Lady Gaga, Lily James, John Leguizamo, Simu Liu, Zoe Kravitz, Rami Malek, Rosie Perez, Chris Rock, and Uma Thurman, along with confirming Youn and Hopkins as presenters. 

What other events lead up to the big show? 

Nominees Luncheon, March 7 

Final voting begins, March 17 

Final polls close, March 22 

The Governors Awards, March 25—recipients are Samuel L. Jackson, Elaine May, and Liv Ullman. Danny Glover will be presented with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Susan Wloszczyna

Susan Wloszczyna spent much of her nearly thirty years at USA TODAY as a senior entertainment reporter. Now unchained from the grind of daily journalism, she is ready to view the world of movies with fresh eyes.

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