The (right) envelope, please: Oscars get underway
LOS ANGELES — Attendees are streaming down the red carpet at the 90th Academy Awards where the normally celebratory atmosphere has been balanced with earnest discussion about gender equality following months of sexual harassment scandals throughout Hollywood.
The Oscars will hope to live down their most infamous blunder at the ceremony, which begin at 8 p.m. EST and will be broadcast live by ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. But more than redemption is on the line Sunday for last year’s embarrassing best-picture flub — the fiasco known as Envelopegate.
The ceremony, to be hosted again by Jimmy Kimmel, will be the crescendo of one of Hollywood’s most tumultuous awards seasons ever — one that saw cascading allegations of sexual harassment topple movie moguls, upended Oscar campaigns and new movements launched to improve gender equality throughout the industry.
No Golden Globes-style fashion protest is planned by organizers of Time’s Up, the initiative begun by several hundred prominent women in entertainment to combat sexual harassment. Their goals go beyond red carpets, organizers said in the lead-up to the Oscars.
It’s been an unusually lengthy — and often unpredictable — awards season, already an increasingly protracted horse race begun as most of the contenders bowed at film festivals last September. The Academy Awards, which will also be available for streaming on abc.com, are coming a week later this year because of the Olympics.
While the night’s acting categories are widely expected to go to Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”), Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) and Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards”), the lengthy season hasn’t produced a clear best-picture favorite.
Guillermo del Toro’s monster fable “The Shape of Water” comes in with leading 13 nominations, but many peg Martin McDonagh’s darkly comic revenge drama “Three Billboards” as the front-runner despite the film’s divisiveness among critics. And still, many aren’t counting out Jordan Peele’s horror sensation “Get Out” or Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic “Dunkirk,” which is expected to dominate the technical categories.
The field is made up largely of modest independent film successes except for the box-office phenomenon “Get Out” ($255 million worldwide after opening on Oscar weekend 2017) and “Dunkirk” ($255 million).
Movie attendance also hit a 24-year low in 2017 despite the firepower of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” ”Beauty and the Beast” and “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.” An especially dismal summer movie season was 92 million admissions shy of summer 2016, according to the National Alliance of Theater Owners.
This year, the academy has prohibited the PwC accountants who handle the envelopes from using cellphones or social media during the show. Neither of the PwC representatives involved in the mishap last year, Brian Cullinan or Martha Ruiz, will return to the show.
However, multiple reports say that Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway will be returning to again present best picture, a year after they announced “La La Land” as the winner instead of “Moonlight,” because Cullinan handed them the wrong envelope. The “Bonnie and Clyde” duo will, 12 months later, get “take two.”