Fifth time should be the charm for Leonardo DiCaprio at the Oscars
February 25, 2016 12:00 AM
Leonardo Dicaprio is a favorite for best actor for his part in "The Revenant," at the 88th Academy Awards, airing Sunday.
By Barbara Vancheri / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Twenty-two years after earning his first Oscar nomination, Leonardo DiCaprio may finally be the golden boy with the gold.
Unless something unforeseen happens, “The Revenant” star (previously nominated four times for acting and once as producer) is expected to be named best actor at Sunday’s 88th Academy Awards. Less certain is which movie title will be in the final envelope opened on the stage of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood around midnight or so.
The awards season, in motion almost since last year’s Oscars, is drawing to a close. As you plan your weekend viewing and parties, here are 10 questions and answers about the star-studded night:
1. What time do the Oscars start?
It depends on whether you are talking about the red carpet, the preshow or the actual ceremony.
E! will start its countdown at 1:30 p.m. Sunday (but that has lots of taped pieces, recaps and fluffy filler) and will go live from the red carpet at 5:30 p.m. CNN will be live outside the Dolby from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and ABC will air “Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live From the Red Carpet” at 7 p.m. The show itself will not start until 8:30 p.m. on ABC, and there is never a guarantee it will be over in 3 or 3½ or more hours, so plan your pizza delivery, nightcaps and bedtime accordingly.
2. Who is hosting the show?
Chris Rock, who is guaranteed to make the audience squirm, laugh and think, no doubt using Jada Pinkett Smith’s boycott, Spike Lee’s decision to take in a New York Knicks game instead and the fact that all 20 of the acting nominees are white as possible tart targets in his opening monologue.
In an interview for the March issue of Essence magazine, conducted before the nominations were announced, Mr. Rock addressed diversity and women’s roles. “I’ve never done a movie, any movie, the silliest movie, where someone, some studio person hasn’t gone, ‘Does the girl have to be black?’ ” he said.
“Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood. Everybody’s talking about Jennifer Lawrence. Talk to Gabrielle Union. If you want to hear stories, talk to Nia Long. Talk to Kerry Washington. They would love to get to Jennifer Lawrence’s place or just be treated with the same amount of respect.”
Mr. Rock previously hosted the Oscars on Feb. 27, 2005, when the big winners were “Million Dollar Baby,” director Clint Eastwood and actors Jamie Foxx, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman and Cate Blanchett.
During that show, he presented a taped piece in which he went to a nearby Magic Johnson-owned theater and interviewed African-American moviegoers who’d seen none of the Oscar-nominated movies but were fans of action-adventure movies, horror films and the Wayans brothers comedy “White Chicks.”
In 2005, as in many years, there were just five best picture nominees. This time, there are eight, and while “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is not among them (it is nominated for five awards in other categories), the field includes some box office hits such as “The Martian” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
3. Can I binge watch any of the best picture contenders?
Check your cable on-demand listings for starters. If you prefer discs, “Spotlight” arrived on DVD and Blu-ray two days ago, and “Bridge of Spies,” “The Martian” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” have been in stores for some time.
“Room” will be released on Tuesday. “The Big Short” is now on digital HD and will arrive on Blu-ray March 15. “Brooklyn” is on digital HD now, with the Blu-ray and DVD also due March 15. No date has been announced for “The Revenant,” although it could come out in April.
4. In addition to Mr. DiCaprio, who else seems to be a lock?
Best actress nominee Brie Larson from “Room” is the odds-on favorite for her portrayal of the mother of a 5-year-old boy born after she was kidnapped as a teenager. They are held prisoner in a soundproof garden shed, and once you see “Room,” you will also have an appreciation for Jacob Tremblay, now 9 and a talented charmer.
Sylvester Stallone, nominated for his leading role in 1976’s “Rocky” and for writing the screenplay, is a sentimental favorite for his supporting turn in “Creed,” but a thorny pick given the lack of nominations for director Ryan Coogler and lead Michael B. Jordan. Still, he will be able to honor them in his thank-you speech, and he deserves the Academy Award.
Up for grabs is the supporting actress Oscar, which likely will go to Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl.” She was unintentionally her best campaigner, thanks to her versatile work in “Ex Machina,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Burnt” and “Testament of Youth.”
5. Are there any Pittsburgh connections?
Of course. Pittsburgh native Michael Keaton is part of the excellent ensemble in best picture nominee “Spotlight,” and Jesse Shapira’s company, No Trace Camping Productions, helped to produce “Room.” Mr. Shapira, whose producing credits also include “What If,” starring Daniel Radcliffe, and the R-rated hockey comedy “Goon,” is a graduate of Shady Side Academy and the son of Pittsburghers Daniel and Barbara Shapira.
6. Who will present or perform?
The list includes Morgan Freeman, John Legend, J.J. Abrams, Sacha Baron Cohen, Henry Cavill and Dave Grohl.
Also announced: Patricia Arquette, Abraham Attah (“Beasts of No Nation”), Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, Louis C.K., Steve Carell, Priyanka Chopra, Common, Jared Leto, Rachel McAdams, Julianne Moore, Olivia Munn, Dev Patel, Eddie Redmayne, Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie and Russell Crowe.
Plus Benicio del Toro, Chris Evans, Tina Fey, Ryan Gosling, Louis Gossett Jr., Kevin Hart, Quincy Jones, Michael B. Jordan, Lady Gaga, Byung-hun Lee, Jennifer Garner, Whoopi Goldberg and Jason Segel.
And Andy Serkis, Sarah Silverman, J.K. Simmons, Sam Smith, Charlize Theron, Jacob Tremblay, Sofia Vergara, Kerry Washington, The Weeknd, Pharrell Williams and Reese Witherspoon.
7. Who are the fashionistas to watch on the red carpet and what will they be wearing?
Ms. Larson, Ms. Vikander, Ms. Lawrence, Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett have been standouts. Lady Gaga, who is nominated with Diane Warren for the song “Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground,” likely will go classy and old Hollywood rather than Grammy-esque although she was paying homage to David Bowie there.
Fashion predictions for the Oscars can be boiled down to one of the following: something old, something new, something borrowed or something blue. Sure, this phrase usually applies to a bride walking down the aisle, but it works for celebs sashaying down the red carpet, as well.
If women go with a gown from a fall/winter 2015 collection (the old), expect moody hues or brilliant embellishments, says Post-Gazette style editor Sara Bauknecht, who just got back from New York Fashion Week. Meanwhile, if they select something hot off the runway, there was no shortage of gorgeous gilded gowns, glistening in head-to-toe bead work, hammered metallics, liquid gold lame and light-catching gems by red carpet favorites including Naeem Khan, J.Mendel, Reem Acra and Ralph Lauren.
As for the blue, that’s where the guys come in. Navy was the hot hue for tuxedos at the inaugural New York Fashion Week: Men’s shows, our style editor says. Plus, shades of blue were popular for women at this month’s shows in New York, with Oscar de la Renta presenting some particularly pretty options.
8. In addition to just watching TV, what else can I do?
“The Oscars Backstage” on Oscar.com will be hosted by actor/writer/producer Orlando Jones, actress and TV personality Diane Mizota, actor Matt Shively, film critic and entertainment reporter Ben Lyons, and entertainment and sports reporter Chris Connelly.
The director’s cut from the best of the live backstage cameras also will be available on ABCNews.com, AOL, Comcast Xfinity and Yahoo.
Samsung is presenting The Oscars Backstage, allowing fans to choose from four channels that will pull from more than 20 live cameras on the red carpet and backstage at the Dolby Theatre. Pre-show channels will include: director’s cut, arrivals, fashion and red carpet. During the show, the channels will be director’s cut (including the thank-you cam), audience, backstage and press rooms.
If you want to get dressed up and leave the house, the Pittsburgh Film Office is staging its party, “Highmark Presents Lights! Glamour! Action!” at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. See pghfilm.org for details and ticket information.
The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will throw a viewing party, with games and contests, on Oscar night. Tickets, $10 or $25. See thehollywooddormont.org.
9. What will the swells be eating when we’re brushing our teeth and pitching the pizza box and unpopped popcorn kernels?
Wolfgang Puck once again is overseeing the food at the Governors Ball, which follows the ceremony. The menu will feature more than 50 dishes, from one-bite hors d’oeuvres to small-plate entrees that will be passed throughout the evening.
They include Sriracha-candied macadamia nuts; braised short rib with cauliflower puree and golden raisin puffed Thai rice; tortellini with artichoke fromage; white grape almond gazpacho; rye berry risotto with peas and asparagus; poke, stone crab, made-to-order sushi and other raw bar treats floating atop illuminated ice blocks; and a selection of Mr. Puck’s signature favorites.
Chief among them: smoked salmon Oscars with caviar on brioche, chicken pot pie with shaved black truffles, and mini American Wagyu burgers with aged cheddar.
And that doesn’t even include dessert.
10. Predictions? As always, don’t bet your Rivers Casino slots money …
Picture: “The Revenant.”
Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant” (considering he won this prize a year ago for “Birdman,” voters might opt for George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”).
Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant.”
Actress: Brie Larson, “Room.”
Supporting actor: Sylvester Stallone, “Creed.”
Supporting actress: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl.”
Original screenplay: “Spotlight,” Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy.
Adapted screenplay: “The Big Short,” Charles Randolph and Adam McKay.
Animated feature: “Inside Out,” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera.
Foreign language film: “Son of Saul,” Hungary.
Documentary feature: “Amy,” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees.
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Revenant.”
Film editing: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel.
Production design: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson.
Visual effects: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Costume design: “Cinderella,” Sandy Powell.
Makeup and hairstyling: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin.
Music: “The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone.
Original song: “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre,” Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith.
Documentary short: “Body Team 12,” David Darg and Bryn Mooser.
Animated short: “Bear Story,” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala.
Live action short: “Shok,” Jamie Donoughue.
Sound editing: “The Revenant,” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender.
Sound mixing: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo.
Bonus: Can I buy the Oscar poster with the slogan “We All Dream in Gold” or anything else from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?
Yes. The poster is available for $15, you can buy a $17 Oscar beanie — an organic cotton cap with the Oscar logo — or an Oscars Moleskine notebook, $29.95. Does not include shipping or tax. Go to ampa.invisionerp.com for photos and order form.
Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies.
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