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The Oscars: Five firsts to look out for at this year’s Academy Awards

The red carpet is down and the golden statuettes are ready – the Oscars are back in the heart of Hollywood after last year saw the ceremony forced to scale down because of the pandemic. And despite much of the preparation feeling like business as usual, we can expect a fair few firsts at the 94th Academy Awards.

1) A win-win for a streamer

Netflix’s The Power Of The Dog leads the nominations with 12 and was an early favourite to win best picture but recent momentum has seen many predicting that Apple TV Plus’s CODA will cause an upset. Either way it’ll mark a moment in Hollywood history as it will mean, for the first time, that a streaming service will be behind the best picture winner, rather than one of the big film studios. And of course if CODA – about the only hearing member of a deaf family – does win it will also be a landmark moment for the deaf community and an acknowledgement of the value of authentic casting.

2) Three women host the ceremony

After two host-less years producers have hired a hat-trick of comics to oversee the event – Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer. And while it’s possible that the decision to have multiple hosts may have been pandemic-driven (the chances of one catching COVID and being unavailable on the night might be reasonable, but surely not all three…), there are high hopes the trio will bring an energy that’s felt missing since 2019. But it won’t just be jokes they will be delivering – we know there will be references to Ukraine with Hall telling a news conference that the producer’s plans for acknowledging the war are "beautiful", adding "It’s a delicate situation and… I think the audience will enjoy it."

3) Will Smith finally gets an Oscar?

The mega-star has been in the business for 30 years and looks like finally being crowned as Hollywood royalty when he picks up the best actor award for his role in King Richard – in which he plays the father of tennis pros Venus and Serena Williams. Whether it’s that performance – or perhaps just his ‘time’ – it seems an Oscar is in the bag for Smith. And if you want more thoughts on who will take home prizes check out our predictions.

4) Eight awards won’t be shown live

In a somewhat controversial move show producers have decided to give out the awards for documentary short, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live action short and sound in the hour before the telecast starts. Those moments will then be edited and will still feature in the three-hour live show, but there’s been backlash from those in the industry who aren’t happy all categories aren’t being treated equally.

5) Let’s talk about Bruno

The Encanto chart-topper ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ is going to be performed live for the first time during the ceremony – despite not actually being nominated. Other live performances will come from Beyonce – who is opening the show – and Billie Eilish and Finneas. Producers are under pressure to reverse declining ratings, and will hope that the performers and presenters, some of whom aren’t necessarily people you would expect to see at the Oscars, will help to bring in viewers that might not be attracted by the films alone.

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You can watch the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday 27 March exclusively on Sky Cinema from 11pm – and follow our live blog on the Sky News website and app. For those not wanting to stay up late, you can watch again on Monday 28 at 7pm on Sky Cinema or from 10pm on Sky Showcase

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