You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hollywood Weathers the Storm for 86th Academy Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a blustery few days of torrential downpours, Hollywood appears ready for smooth sailing at the Academy Awards.

The 86th annual Oscar ceremony kicks off Sunday night from the Dolby Theatre. Unlike the stormy hosting of Seth MacFarlane last year, this Oscar show with host Ellen DeGeneres has a deliberately safe vibe of cheery song-and-dance.

The nimble and amiable DeGeneres is expected to return the broadcast to more traditional territory. Many of the night’s biggest categories, too, seem to hold little chance for surprise.

The well-established favorites include Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong’o and Jared Leto. Each comes into Oscar Sunday having won a parade of awards over the last few months, including honors at Saturday’s Spirit Awards.

The night’s biggest question mark won’t come until the very end. The historical drama “12 Years a Slave,” the 3-D space spectacle “Gravity” and the con-artist caper “American Hustle” are vying for best picture in the night’s closest contest.

“Gravity” is expected to lead the ceremony in total awards, cleaning up in technical categories like visual effects and cinematography. Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron is considered a lock for best director for seamlessly marshalling new digital technology to render the lost-in-space drama. He would be the first Latino to win the category.

While the global hit easily topped the other eight best-picture nominees at the box office, the lower budget, less widely seen “12 Years a Slave” is believed to have a narrow edge for the academy’s top honor.

Though voters last year chose entertainment over history lesson (Ben Affleck’s “Argo” over Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”), many see Steve McQueen’s brutal adaptation of Solomon Northup’s memoir as a landmark film difficult to watch but impossible to overlook.

ABC, which is telecasting the ceremony, hopes the drama of the best-picture race will be enough to entice viewers. The show last year drew an audience of 40.3 million, up from 39.3 million the year before when the silent-film ode “The Artist” won best picture.

More Film

  • Diane Kruger Hong Chau

    Diane Kruger Says She Walked Out of Audition Over Director's Disrespect

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a blustery few days of torrential downpours, Hollywood appears ready for smooth sailing at the Academy Awards. The 86th annual Oscar ceremony kicks off Sunday night from the Dolby Theatre. Unlike the stormy hosting of Seth MacFarlane last year, this Oscar show with host Ellen DeGeneres has a deliberately safe […]

  • Golden Globes: 'Get Out' Lands Controversial

    Golden Globes: 'Get Out' Lands Best Picture Nomination Amid Comedy Dispute

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a blustery few days of torrential downpours, Hollywood appears ready for smooth sailing at the Academy Awards. The 86th annual Oscar ceremony kicks off Sunday night from the Dolby Theatre. Unlike the stormy hosting of Seth MacFarlane last year, this Oscar show with host Ellen DeGeneres has a deliberately safe […]

  • Golden Globes Snubs and Surprises

    Golden Globes Nominations: 21 Biggest Snubs and Surprises

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a blustery few days of torrential downpours, Hollywood appears ready for smooth sailing at the Academy Awards. The 86th annual Oscar ceremony kicks off Sunday night from the Dolby Theatre. Unlike the stormy hosting of Seth MacFarlane last year, this Oscar show with host Ellen DeGeneres has a deliberately safe […]

  • The Greatest Showman on Earth

    Oscar Fortunes Appear to Rise and Fall, but It's Just the Golden Globes

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a blustery few days of torrential downpours, Hollywood appears ready for smooth sailing at the Academy Awards. The 86th annual Oscar ceremony kicks off Sunday night from the Dolby Theatre. Unlike the stormy hosting of Seth MacFarlane last year, this Oscar show with host Ellen DeGeneres has a deliberately safe […]

  • Golden Globes 2018 Nominations: First-Time Nominees

    Golden Globes Nominations: First-Timers Break Through

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a blustery few days of torrential downpours, Hollywood appears ready for smooth sailing at the Academy Awards. The 86th annual Oscar ceremony kicks off Sunday night from the Dolby Theatre. Unlike the stormy hosting of Seth MacFarlane last year, this Oscar show with host Ellen DeGeneres has a deliberately safe […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content