Oscars Set to Unfold With Heavy Security and Lots of Questions

As workers put the finishing touches on the red carpet for Sunday afternoon’s Oscars ceremony, suspense is high over what the show will look like in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.

Jimmy Kimmel hosts the 90th Academy Awards ceremony with 54 films in contention for an Oscar amidst a massive cultural shift in the movie business. Look for colorful formal attire with pins to support causes like Time’s Up and gun control on the red carpet — this time around there is no coordinated effort to wear all black as stars did at the Golden Globes.

The show begins at 5 p.m. PST at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood with Oscars presented in 24 categories. ABC will televise the ceremony in the U.S., where at least 30 million people are expected to tune in.

Though there was rain into Saturday night in Hollywood, the Oscars ceremony should unfold in chilly but dry weather. Forecasts call for sunny skies in the afternoon with highs near 61 and light winds. Temps will drop to about 45 at night.

Traffic in Hollywood will be tightly controlled Sunday, as the LAPD works to wrap the Dolby Theatre in multiple cordons of security. More than 500 officers will be on hand, along with firefighters, police helicopters and agents from the FBI. Private security guards from Security Industry Specialists will work the inside of the theater.

Nearly a mile of Hollywood Boulevard will be closed, from Cahuenga Boulevard to La Brea Avenue. Highland Avenue and Orange Drive will be closed for almost a half a mile, from Franklin Avenue to Sunset Boulevard. The Red Line stop at Hollywood and Highland will also be closed all day on Sunday, keeping passengers outside the security perimeter.

The awards season has lifted “The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Get Out” into current frontrunner status. But there’s also the still-stunning memory lingering from the 89th Academy Awards ceremonies, when Faye Dunaway incorrectly announced “La La Land” as the best picture — a mistake that led to two minutes of growing chaos, followed by the correct announcement of  “Moonlight.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Brian Cullinan mistakenly handed an envelope for the best actress category — which had already been awarded to Emma Stone for “La La Land” — to Warren Beatty and Dunaway. Though it may have been great television, the spectacular flub was thoroughly embarrassing to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has devoted much more attention to how the envelopes are being handled.

Beatty and Dunaway are getting a second chance on Sunday night and have already rehearsed the moment. And PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Academy have new rules this year: the celebrity presenter as well as a stage manager will confirm that they have the correct envelope before announcing the award; PwC partners will not be allowed to use social media during the show; and a third “balloting partner” will sit with producers in the control room with a third set of envelopes. And Cullinan is no longer involved.

Sunday’s ceremony is also taking place five months after the earth-shaking revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults and harassment, which led to his Oct. 14 expulsion from AMPAS, followed by similar accusations against two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer and four-time Oscar winner Woody Allen — along with the launch of #MeToo and Times Up. Ryan Seacrest, whose sexual harassment accuser recently spoke to Variety, will  continue to interview stars on the red carpet for E!, however, with the network standing by their assertion that he was cleared by an investigation.

Tradition has been altered even in awards presentations. Jennifer Lawrence and Jodie Foster will announce the lead actress prize winner Sunday night, while Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren will present lead actor. In prior years, the previous year’s acting winners present the same categories for the opposite gender at the Oscars but last year’s lead actor winner Casey Affleck withdrew in January as a presenter, reportedly to avoid being a distraction due to two sexual harassment lawsuits he previously settled with the producer and cinematographer of his 2010 film “I’m Still Here.”

Leaders of the Time’s Up organization said this week that their movement and legal defense fund will be highlighted during the telecast on Sunday. Though unspecified what the moment during the Oscars ceremony would involve, leaders said they had worked with the show’s producers to bring attention to their cause.

Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd are again producing and Glenn Weiss is returning to direct the telecast. The ceremony usually goes past its scheduled three-hour running time.

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