It’s almost that time of year again, when Hollywood’s elite gather together to honor the best in film. The 86th annual Academy Awards are this Sunday, and many of us are placing our bets and preparing for Oscar parties with friends and family. So with the ceremony only a few days away, here are five things to look forward to at this year’s show.
1. Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres is hosting the Academy Awards this year, so be prepared for lots of laughs. This is the second time Ellen has been asked to host the biggest night in Hollywood (her first gig was in 2007), and she says it’s the scariest thing she has ever done. “I’m hosting the Oscars because it’s a really terrifying thing to do. I thought, why not challenge myself?” she joked.
The star told People: “I’m comfortable right now, and it’s never good to be comfortable as a performer. Creatively I need to push myself. Hosting the Oscars is pretty much the scariest thing you can do.” Ellen has also taken on other hosting gigs, including the Emmy Awards in 2001 and 2005.
2. The Wizard of Oz tribute
It’s the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, and the Academy took notice. This year’s Oscars ceremony will include a tribute to this beloved classic that first debuted in 1939. Hailed as one of the greatest motion pictures of all time, The Wizard of Oz has truly impacted pop culture, and a tribute to the film is happily welcome and well deserved.
3. Musical performances
Since the Oscars are all about the movies, we tend to forget about the music. This year, we can expect some great performances from artists such as U2 singing “Ordinary Love,” Pharrell Williams performing “Happy,” Karen O taking on “The Moon Song,” and Idina Menzel letting loose with “Let It Go” from Frozen. In addition, Bette Midler and Pink are also set to perform, making it an exciting night for music in film.
4. Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski covering the red carpet
If you’re having withdrawals from Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski’s commentary during the Winter Olympics, you’re in luck. This new dynamic duo has been hired by Access Hollywood to co-host the red carpet of the Academy Awards with Billy Bush. Weir and Lipinski will sit above the crowd and give their thoughts on all things fashion as celebrities arrive to the ceremony.
5. A tight race for Best Picture
It’s been an amazing year for movies, which means it’s going to be a close call for the Best Picture award. With nine films in the running – 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, Captain Phillips, Her, American Hustle, Gravity, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, and Philomena – it’s said to be one of the tightest races in Academy Award history.