** WARNING: SPOILERS … SPOILERS … SPOILERS … SPOILERS **
MORE UPDATES, SATURDAY: I’ve confirmed that Billy Crystal, without doubt the most popular Oscar host in recent years, will be making a “surprise” appearance at the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday night. About two-thirds of the way into the telecast, the comedian is scheduled to perform a monologue about the movie industry. His stand-up is so secret that it was listed only as “Guest Host” on the official show rundown I obtained and posted Friday. But then Billy was ushered in and out of Friday’s rehearsal without even the other showbiz stars knowing he was at the Kodak Theatre. Given what a snorefest so much of this year’s Oscar show looks to be, Crystal’s appearance will be something that TV viewers will surely welcome … I’ve also learned that the so-called “Cold Opening” of the show, as scheduled, features a filmed bit involving actor Alec Baldwin who was last year’s Academy Awards co-host with Steve Martin. The shtick is that Baldwin wants to host again this year and is imagining what it would be like — but then discovers that James Franco and Anne Hathaway were chosen to host instead of him … Towards the end of the show, again as scheduled, there’ll be a brief Back To The Future segment starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd from the 1985 film … And venerable actor/producer Kirk Douglas will present the Best Supporting Actress Oscar … Again, let me emphasize that last-minute changes can always occur.
EXCLUSIVE FRIDAY 7:00 AM… NEW UPDATES 11:45 AM: I’ve obtained the annotated schedule for Sunday night’s 83rd Academy Awards show and what’s confirmed at this point looks to be yet another snorefest from the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences airing on ABC and in 200 countries around the globe. Here will be the highlights or lowlights depending on your point of view when it comes to the overly long and usually boring Oscars telecast: Steven Spielberg will award Best Picture … Hilary Swank and Kathryn Bigelow will hand out Best Director … Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway pop up almost every minute and make at least 5 wardrobe changes and open the show with one of those Billy Crystal-originated films putting themselves into scenes from all the 10 nominated movies … UPDATE: A “Guest Host” will perform a monologue about 2/3s of the way into the show and the person isn’t identified and every insider isn’t talking — but I bet it’s Billy Crystal (which could make these Oscars worth watching)* … Florence (of Florence And The Machine) will perform with A.R. Rahman the 127 Hours song “If I Rise” … Celine Dion will sing “Smile” during the In Memoriam segment … A tribute to Lena Horne will be presented by Halle Berry … So-called ‘Scenic Transitions’ to Hollywood’s past will consist of virtual reality lookbacks (at the very first Oscars, the films Gone With The Wind and Lord Of The Rings, movie music from The Silent Era and Broadway Melody and THX, the first televised Academy Awards in black & white, and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood) … New writers will join Bruce Vilanch and John Mack including Grammy Awards vet David Wilde and Judd Apatow-regular Jordan Rubin … Presenters won’t have to read those lame jokes … UPDATE: The student choir from the New York City/Staten Island School PS 22 student choir is going to close the show by singing “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard Of Oz …* These are pretty much the only interesting moments awaiting the audience Sunday when the show airs starting at 5 PM and continues for what feels like an eternity.
There’s also a lot you won’t see, like any live singing and dancing numbers involving both Hathaway and Franco together. One planned Oscar number where James Franco in drag was to sing the Cher song from Burlesque — “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me” — had to be scrapped not only because the song wasn’t nominated but also because show producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer decided that Franco’s singing was too horrible. “You only have to hear the tape to learn why it was scrubbed,” an insider explained to me. Franco even tweeted an audio-only link to his awful rehearsal where he apologizes repeatedly (click box to listen).
On the other hand, Franco subsequently tweeted this outtake clip showing he and Hathaway rehearsing a dance scene from Grease.
Meanwhile, it’s bizarre that, breaking from tradition, neither 2010 winners Mo’Nique nor Christoph Waltz won’t be presenting the Best Supporting Actor/Actress categories according to the official sked. UPDATE: I’ve found out that Mo’Nique refused to be a presenter even though she was repeatedly asked, while Waltz is overseas filming.*
And even though Internet reports claimed performance artist/graffiti painter/political activist Banksy, who is supposedly the director of the film Exit Through The Gift Shop nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, was banned from attending the awards in disguise (he wanted to come dressed as a monkey), Academy president Tom Sherak tells Deadline that’s not true. Noting how competitive almost all the categories are this year, including Documentary, Sherak said, “The media is making it exciting with all the questions about Banksy. I think it’s all good and if he shows up, he shows up. I won’t stop him.”
So here’s the show rundown, according to the annotated schedule I’ve obtained (barring any last-minute changes). And check out my Oscars Live-Snarking on Sunday night:
Hosts James Franco (127 Hours and a Best Actor nominee this year) and Anne Hathaway (Love And Other Drugs) will open the show with a Billy-Crystal-originated comedic filmed piece where they appear in scenes from the year’s 10 Best Pictures real or not. Then they welcome the audience in the first “Scenic Transition” — this one, from the 1939 movie Gone With The Wind.
Tom Hanks is the first presenter, handing out the Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography Oscars. But almost all the other Academy Award presenters are stars from 2010’s crop of movies or upcoming 2011 pics.
Next comes the Best Supporting Actress Oscar but the presenter’s name is not on the rundown.
Justin Timberlake (The Social Network) and Mila Kunis (Black Swan) present the Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short Film Oscars.
The next “Scenic Transition” takes audiences back to the very first first Academy Awards ceremony held on May 16, 1929, at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood to honor the 1927/1928 film season. That segues to Javier Bardem (Biutiful) and Josh Brolin (True Grit) awarding the Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay Oscars.
Franco and Hathaway appear in what’s described as a “performance comedy” with a wardrobe change of gowns and tuxedos.
Russell Brand (Get Him To The Greek) and Helen Mirren (Red) present the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
Then comes Reese Witherspoon (How Do You Know) to hand out the Supporting Actor Oscar.
Academy President Tom Sherak next comes out onto the Kodak Theatre stage to talk.
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole) and Hugh Jackman (2011’s Real Steel and host of the 81st Academy Awards) are onstage for the “Scenic Transition Sound” into the Silent Era then Broadway Melody then THX and a past film score medley with the orchestra. Kidman and Jackman hand out the Best Original Score Oscar.
Next, Matthew McConaughey (2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer) and Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2) present the Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing Oscars.
Marisa Tomei (Cyrus) comes out to present the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Sci-Tech Awards recap.
Anne Hathaway is shown in a tux. Which leads to the next “Scenic Transition” — to the franchise Lord Of The Rings featuring its co-star Cate Blanchett (Robin Hood) who presents the Best Makeup and Best Costume Design Oscars.
There’s an interlude of “Movie Music I Remember” introduced by Kevin Spacey (Casino Jack).
Next are the start of the Best Songs performances with Randy Newman performing “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3, followed by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi and Alan Mencken performing “I See The Light” from Tangled.
Jake Gyllenhaal (Prince Of Persia, Love And Other Drugs) and Amy Adams (The Fighter) present the Best Documentary Short Subject and Best Live Action Short Film Oscars.
Anne Hathaway and James Franco do a comedy bit together in another wardrobe change — their 3rd.
Oprah Winfrey presents Best Documentary feature. Meanwhile, her BFF Gayle King will be backstage doing live interviews.
Anne Hathaway introduces a Guest Host (not ID’ed), which leads into another “Scenic Transition” — the first televised Oscars in black & white. The Guest Host does a monologue.
2011’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows’ co-stars Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man 2, Due Date) and Jude Law (Repo Men) present the Best Visual Effects and Flm Editing Oscars.
Anne Hathaway makes her 4th wardrobe change.
Jennifer Hudson introduces the performance of the 3rd nominated song, “If I Rise” from 127 Hours, performed by Florence Welch (of Florence And the Machine) with A.R. Rahman. (Dido isn’t doing it…) Followed by the 4th nominated song, “Coming Home” from Country Strong, sung by Gwyneth Paltrow. Then Hudson presents the Best Original Song Oscar.
Celine Dion and the William Ross-conducted orchestra perform “Smile” during the In Memoriam segment. Following is a Lena Horne tribute introduced by Halle Barry. And then a wide shot in the house with quote.
The Best Director Award will be presented by Hilary Swank (Conviction) and last year’s winner (and first female to do so) Kathryn Bigelow.
Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) introduces the Governors Awards package held in a separate ceremony on November 14th, with the honorees introduced onstage: actor Eli Wallach, film historian/preservationist Kevin Brownlow, and director/producer/screenwriter and Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award recipient Francis Ford Coppola. The 4th honoree, French director Jean-Luc Godard declined to attend the Governors Awards or the Oscars.
Seque into still another “Scenic Transition” — Grauman’s Chinese Theater, scene of many big movie premieres and where the stars’s hands and feet and signatures are memorialized in cement.
Last year’s Best Actor winner Jeff Bridges (True Grit) presents the Best Actress Oscar.
Anne Hathaway undergoes her 5th wardrobe change.
Last year’s Best Actress winner Sandra Bullock presents the Best Actor Oscar.
Steven Spielberg presents the Best Motion Picture Oscar.
Then comes the finale with Franco and Hathaway saying their goodnights. The End (mercifully).