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Eight ways the 2018 Oscars will be different

Sunday - 04/03/2018 15:09
"And the winner is... La La Land!"

Somehow, that moment - and the subsequent revelation that Moonlight had, in fact, won the Oscar for best picture was a whole year ago.

But an awful lot can change in Hollywood in a single year.

Here are eight things that will be different about the 90th Academy Awards - and what to look out for at Sunday's ceremony.

1. The way winners are announced

Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan

Expect envelope jokes. Lots of them.

That said, host Jimmy Kimmel already got a few quips out of the way in the trailer for this year's show, co-starring with Warren Beatty, who was handed the wrong envelope at last year's ceremony.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm which has been in charge of counting Oscar votes (and looking after those all-important envelopes) for the past 84 years is, perhaps unsurprisingly, making a few changes.

  • The employees previously responsible for handing the golden envelopes to the presenters, Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan, have been replaced, although they do still work for the company.
  • This year, in addition to the two accountants who sit either side of the stage with a full set of envelopes, a third person will be situated in the show's control room. They will also commit the winners to memory.
  • All three will attend rehearsals and practice what to do if anything goes wrong.
  • Each presenter, and a stage manager, will have to confirm they've been handed the correct envelope for the category they are announcing. The problem last year was that Beatty was given the best actress envelope, when that award had already been presented to Emma Stone
  • PwC employees are banned from using mobile phones and social media while the ceremony is going on. Last year, Cullinan had been posting on Twitterjust before the mix-up.

2. Last year's best actor winner won't present the best actress award

Casey Affleck after winning his Oscar

It's traditional for the previous year's best actor winner to announce who has won best actress - and vice versa.

But Casey Affleck, who won the award for Manchester by the Sea, has pulled out of presenting duties.

He was sued by two female crew members for alleged sexual harassment in 2010. Affleck denied the allegations, and the lawsuits were settled out of court.

The best actress winner will instead be announced by former winners Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence.

3. The presenting line-up is making history

Daniela Vega
Daniela Vega will be among the presenters at the ceremony

A diverse line-up of presenters has been chosen to actually hand out the Oscars. They include Tiffany Haddish, Gina Rodriguez, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Lupita Nyong'o.

And Daniela Vega is also making history. She is believed to be the first openly transgender actress to present at the Academy Awards. Vega is the star of Chile's best foreign film nominee A Fantastic Woman.

Others presenting include Jodie Foster, Mark Hamill, Greta Gerwig, Helen Mirren, Tom Holland, Gal Gadot, Laura Dern and Zendaya.

4. Women are being placed front and centre

Five ways women made a mark in the Oscar nominations
Media captionFive ways women made a mark in the Oscar nominations

Women are still under-represented amongst the Oscar nominees, but some important steps have been made.

Rachel Morrison has become the first woman to ever (yes, ever) be nominated as best cinematographer. She's honoured for her work on Dee Rees' Mudbound, which starred Carey Mulligan and Mary J Blige.

And then there's the fact that Greta Gerwig is the fifth woman to ever (yes, ever) be nominated in the best director category, for her debut Lady Bird.

Several films in the best picture category are notable too for being centred around women, without romance being the main focus of the plot. That includes films like Lady Bird, a coming of age story set in early 2000s Sacramento, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, about a grieving mother's fight for justice.

5. Two contenders are older than the awards themselves

James Ivory and Agnes Varda

The first Academy Awards were held on 16 May, 1929 - but two nominees for the 2018 Oscars were born the previous year.

James Ivory, nominated for best adapted screenplay for Call Me By Your Name, was born on 7 June, 1928 and Agnes Varda, nominated for best documentary for Faces Places, on 30 May, 1928.

If either wins, they will also be the oldest-ever Oscar winners.

It's worth noting, too, that best supporting actor nominee Christopher Plummer, given a nod for his role in All the Money in the World, is the oldest ever actor nominated for a competitive award.

6. Time's Up is likely to have a presence on the red carpet

Joe Jonas wearing a Time's Up pin

At the time of writing, it's not expected that there will be a Golden Globes-style black out on the red carpet - with everyone wearing monochromatic outfits.

But it's likely the massive political earthquake that has hit Hollywood in the past year will be represented not just on the red carpet but throughout the ceremony.

Stars will potentially arrive holding white roses - as happened at the Grammys and Brit Awards.

Watch out, too, for celebrities bringing activists as their guests on the red carpet, rather than their significant other (or their mum).

This is what happened at the Globes, with Emma Watson among those using their moment in the spotlight to make a stand against sexual harassment.

7. Harvey Weinstein won't be there

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel
Will host Jimmy Kimmel make a reference to Harvey Weinstein?

It's been suggested that Harvey Weinstein is the most thanked man in Oscars history, with several best actor and actress winners through the years giving him a name check. His firm was also responsible for best picture winners like Shakespeare in Love and The King's Speech.

And just as his presence has been very much felt in previous years, so will his absence this year, after the sexual abuse scandal that erupted at the end of 2017. (Weinstein has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex).

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel may - or may not - choose to address the issue in his opening monologue. If he does, he'd be following Globes host Seth Meyers who tackled what he called "the elephant not in the room" at the January ceremony.

8. There's no clear front-runner

Daniel Kaluuya
Daniel Kaluuya won the Bafta Rising Star award - could Get Out also win best picture?

Which makes guessing who's going to win a little bit trickier.

At the moment, it seems to be a two-horse race between The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri for the best picture title. But the experts' opinion on who's going to win seems to change every day.

There are also murmurings that Get Out, starring British actor Daniel Kaluuya, is gathering momentum. Then again, some think Dunkirk could be the shock winner.

It's also notable that the nominated films have had the lowest grosses in six years. Some have suggested this represents a growing gap between what the movie-going public actually watches, and what wins the gongs.

presentational grey line

One last thing to mention: This year's ceremony is later than usual, due to the Winter Olympics. It's being held at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre on Sunday, 4 March, starting at 17:00 local time.

Join us on the night for our live coverage, here on the BBC news website as well as through the night on BBC Radio 5 live and on the BBC News Channel.

presentational grey line

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 Key: 2018 Oscars

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