** 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: (more…)