Along with accolades for “La La Land” and criticism of President Trump, Sunday’s 89th Academy Awards ceremony has another strong possibility — it will probably be drizzling outside. Host Jimmy Kimmel will kick off the show at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
The National Weather Service is predicting showers with an 80% chance of precipitation and temperatures in the 50s in the afternoon. The chance of showers will decline to 40% in the evening. But gowns should remain dry — Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Dolby Theatre is tented to protect the walkway where nominees and other notables will be photographed heading into the biggest night of the year for movies.
The exuberant “La La Land,” starring Emma Stone as a struggling actress and Ryan Gosling as a jazz musician, received 14 nominations on Jan. 24, matching “All About Eve” and “Titanic” for the most in Oscar history. Set in an idealized Los Angeles, it could join “The Artist,” “Argo” and “Birdman” as a Best Picture winner with a show business core.
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“La La Land” faces competition from poignant coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea,” a searing story about a family tragedy. “Moonlight” dominated at Saturday afternoon’s Film Independent Spirit Awards with six trophies, including prizes for top feature, director and screenplay.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been hammered for the past two years by protests over the lack of diversity of its nominees. But seven out of the 20 performance nominations this year went to actors of color and nominees such as “Hidden Figures,” “Fences,” “13th” and “O.J.: Made in America” dealt with racial inequality.
The escapism embodied in “La La Land” could resonate with Oscar voters. This year’s Academy Awards take place during a time of unusual political turmoil — much of it derived from the ongoing hostility between Trump and the media and entertainment industries. Meryl Streep used her Jan. 8 Golden Globes speech to blast Trump for his mocking of a disabled New York Times reporter and Trump responded by calling her “over-rated,” despite her 20 Oscar nominations.
Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer said Friday that the President will probably not watch the Oscars due to Trump and the First Lady attending the Governors’ Ball in Washington. In the past the President has been an enthusiastic watcher and tweeter of the ceremony.
A total of 3,300 guests will have to make their way through a three-tiered security perimeter. The LAPD won’t say how many officers they have deployed for the event but it is expected to be about 500, the number that secured the awards zone in 2016.
The city expects at least two groups to hold demonstrations on Sunday — one at Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue organized to speak out about the need for Hollywood’s studios to continue to diversify the makeup of the people who appear in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes; the second at the northwest corner of Highland and Franklin, is billed as a ““Pro-Trump Celebration.”