Oscars getting down to magic moment

The cameras are in place, the stars are starting to stroll the red carpet, and the countdown to the 81st Academy Awards has begun, CNN reported.
Dev Patel and Freida Pinto star in "Slumdog Millionaire," the favorite to win best picture Oscar night.

Hollywood's biggest night is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The show airs on ABC.

Oscar watchers are fixated on several questions -- will it be Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler" or Sean Penn in "Milk" for best actor? Will Kate Winslet once again lose out? And who's going to win best supporting actress?

But two things are certain: "Slumdog Millionaire" is still the odds-on favorite for best picture, and host Hugh Jackman plans to have a great time.

"The way I see it is if I'm not going to have a good time, then how can anyone else have a good time," Jackman told CNN, while impishly threatening to go "drunk and nude" for the show. Video Watch Jackman describe his "butterflies" over hosting "

The makers of "Slumdog" have been having a great time since January, when their film took home the Golden Globe for best drama. The crowd-pleasing rags-to-riches story has been the winter's surprise winner, also racking up victories from the Producers Guild, the Writers Guild, the Directors Guild and the BAFTAs. Video Watch which films, stars are up for top honors "

"I think that 'Slumdog Millionaire' is one of those very rare cases, where the movie comes out and you think, OK, that's a good little movie ... it will be happy to be nominated, and it will get some great recognition," said Oscar historian Steve Pond, author of "The Big Show." "And somehow it has hung on, and the bigger movies that came out afterwards did not click with people as much, and suddenly this little movie was the best story of the year."

That gives "Slumdog's" best picture competition -- "Milk," "Frost/Nixon," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "The Reader" -- a major challenge in stopping the little film's momentum. See the complete list of nominees

"Slumdog's" "Rocky"-like success story may also provide the Oscars with something it could use for ratings domination: a rooting interest.

Oscar ratings generally have been in decline throughout this decade, and without the blockbuster "The Dark Knight" among the best picture nominees, this year may be another down year. Indeed, as Variety editor Peter Bart writes in the March issue of Vanity Fair, not even the studios -- almost all owned by major media conglomerates -- appear very engaged.

"With very few exceptions ... companies were not out there pitching their projects to Oscar and Golden Globe voters with the sort of passionate advocacy of a [Oscar-winning producer] Harvey Weinstein," wrote Bart. "To many of the top stars and agents, the Oscar, too, has become a prisoner of the bean counters."

Not even the bean counters are happy. The traditional Oscar nomination box-office bump has skipped all but "Slumdog," with grosses for "Milk" and "Frost/Nixon" down as much as 33 percent week to week. Only "Benjamin Button" has topped $100 million at the domestic box office, and its budget was estimated at $150 million. "Slumdog" should hit the $100 million mark by early March.

The Academy Awards ceremony is trying to strike back with a new host, the multitalented Jackman, who has earned raves for his handling of the Tonys, and what producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark hope will be a few surprises.

"It's in the nature of television to restrain the spontaneity of a live event," Condon added. "Things become more and more prepackaged."

Both men have been coy as to what's planned -- or unplanned -- with Condon telling The Associated Press that "we wanted to restore a kind of mystery to it." But the kernel of their thinking could be inferred from a comment Mark made to the Times: "Once upon a time, if I'm not mistaken, it was a party. We'd like to bring back a little bit of party flavor."

For many of the nominees, it's also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Nine of the 20 acting nominees are first-timers, and several say they're trying to enjoy the moment because it may never come again.

"It's something I never thought would happen," said Richard Jenkins, nominated for best actor for his performance in "The Visitor." "I'm terribly appreciative of this honor." Video Watch Jenkins on the Oscar attention "

With "Slumdog" the odds-on favorite to win best picture, Oscar observers are focusing on the acting races for dramatic kicks. Even Nate Silver, the mastermind of the political Web site FiveThirtyEight.com, which accurately predicted Barack Obama's presidential victory in November, is getting into the act. Running this year's nominees through a sieve of Oscar history, Silver told New York magazine the favorites are Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler"), Kate Winslet ("The Reader"), Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight") and Taraji P. Henson ("Benjamin Button").

Ledger, who died in early 2008, could become the second performer to win an Oscar posthumously. Peter Finch won best actor for 1976's "Network" two months after he died in 1977.

Before the show, an alleged list of winners was making the rounds on the Internet. Though the Academy has dismissed it as a hoax -- "The document is a complete fraud," said Oscar spokeswoman Leslie Unger -- apparently the list has sparked a "betting frenzy," according to The London Telegraph.

There's also chatter about whether "Button,' which leads all films with 13 nominations, could go home empty-handed, a distinct possibility given the way the film has been shut out so far this awards season. The record for most nominations without a win is held by 1977's "The Turning Point" and 1985's "The Color Purple," both of which went 0 for 11.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Prices on several main food products in Kazakhstan continue to lower
Prices on several main food products in Kazakhstan continue to lower
Uzbekistan intends to increase dried fruit exports to China
Uzbekistan intends to increase dried fruit exports to China
Uzbek Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange reveals volume of its transactions
Uzbek Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange reveals volume of its transactions
Loading Bars
Latest
Body of another Armenian serviceman found on Azerbaijan's Khojavand
Bitcoin tumbles 9.95% to $48,397.56
Passenger transportation via Iran's Kermanshah International Airport declines
UK records another 42,848 coronavirus cases
Explosion occurred near Iran's nuclear facility
Azerbaijan hands over to Armenia body of saboteur neutralized in attack on Azerbaijani serviceman in Khojavand
Azerbaijan talks entreprises to be commissioned at Aghdam Industrial Park
Major terrorist attack against rally with Erdogan's participation prevented in Turkey
Great number of EU, NATO countries interested in Turkish drones - Cavushoglu
Georgian PM meets with President of FIBA Europe
OSCE MG ready to host meeting between Azerbaijani and Armenian FMs
Value of Azerbaijan's export to US surges for 10M2021
Prices on several main food products in Kazakhstan continue to lower
Agrarian sector of ‘smart village’ in Azerbaijan’s Zangilan to be combined modern urban planning – minister
Azerbaijan discloses project cost of agropark in Yevlakh (PHOTO)
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange down
Saudi Arabia, France agree to strengthen cooperation
Biden, Putin to hold video call on Tuesday
India, Australia are natural economic partners, says Tony Abbott
Azerbaijan receives mine maps of its territories liberated from Armenian occupation
Erdogan discusses humanitarian aid with Red Crescent, Red Cross
Uzbekistan intends to increase dried fruit exports to China
No Omicron strain detected in Georgia - NCDC Head
Aligarh’s Areeba shoots to fame, breaks stereotypes about Muslim girls
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price skyrockets
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,406 more COVID-19 cases, 1,787 recoveries
Tactical exercises held in Azerbaijan's commando military unit - MoD (PHOTO/VIDEO)
New composition of Supervisory Board of Azerbaijan Industrial Corporation approved
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for December 4
President Ilham Aliyev sends congratulations to heads of Thailand, Finland
France, Europeans working to open joint mission in Afghanistan - Macron
Ranking of natural gas importers from Azerbaijan
Uzbek Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange reveals volume of its transactions
SOCAR Georgia Gas announces tender on gas stations restoration
Iran eyes increase in passenger transportation via Yazd Shahid Sadooghi Airport
Azerbaijan reveals oil exports to Canada in 10M2021
Weekly review of main events in Azerbaijan's transport sector
Turkmenistan’s president approves anti-crisis program for 2022
Azerbaijan’s liberated territories have high potential for solar energy - RES agency
Weekly review of key events in Azerbaijan's ICT sector
Russian company to help automate, digitalize processes in Uzbek energy sector
Iran reaches increase in load/unload operations in Shahid Bahonar port
Top 10 Azerbaijani oil importers
MFA reveals reason why Armenia-Azerbaijan ministerial meeting didn't take place
Kazakhstan talks construction of wind power plants in Kostanay region
Azerbaijan achieves practical results to restore hydropower plants in liberated lands - agency's CEO
Azerbaijan’s metallurgical company notes increases in steel production over 9M2021
Iran also to be able to take advantage of Zangazur corridor – ex-Iranian ambassador to Azerbaijan
Russia-UAE trade turnover hits fresh all-time high surpassing $4 bln - Mishustin
Kazakhstan’s Almaty Power Plants to buy pumping, ventilation equipment via tender
Azerbaijan discloses oil exports to Ukraine over 10M2021
Azerbaijan unveils volume of oil exports to Belarus in first 10M2021
Georgian Railway shares updated report on income within 9M2021
Azerbaijan’s 10M2021 oil exports to UK revealed
Kazakhstan to timely fulfill its obligations under COP26 – PM
Azerbaijan opens investment tender to privatize Sumgayit Construction Service company
Iran finds way to supply its far north, north-east provinces with gas
Georgia releases COVID-19 data for December 4
LUKOIL Uzbekistan Operating LLC opens tender for supply of shut-off and control valves
Mikheil Saakashvili not to be treated abroad – Georgia's minister
Russia offers Azerbaijan to switch to barcoding for fruit, vegetables exports
Tripartite gas swap deal with Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, may help Iran kill two birds with one stone
Azerbaijan Mortgage and Credit Guarantee Fund issues record amount of loans in 10M2021
Goods movement across Azerbaijani-Russian border to be accelerated
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Kazakhstan boosts trade with Romania over 9M2021
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's oil & gas sector
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Treatment of servicemen injured in helicopter crash of Azerbaijan’s State Border Service continues
Turkey to support Azerbaijan in installing seismic stations in Karabakh
Iran aims to increase local solar power production
Gamaleya Center ready to accept state order for up to 10 mln sets of Sputnik M
Kazakhstan’s Intergas Central Asia to buy welding equipment via tender
Georgia’s export of oil products increases
India’s air defence gets a big boost, Russia starts delivery of S-400 missiles
India's defence procurement guided by national security interests: MEA
Uzbekistan shares domestic COVID-19 data for December 3
Iranian currency rates for December 4
Turkey's export product labeling changes
S.Korea reports record-high COVID-19 cases, deaths
Iran, China review cinematic cooperation
Georgia and Poland have potential for development of bilateral trade
Kyrgyzstan, Russia presidents hold telephone conversation
Japan PM Kishida likely to cancel U.S. visit due to Omicron
Militants kill at least 31 in central Mali, say local authorities
Tunisia confirms 1st case of Omicron variant infection
Turkey confirms 21,495 daily COVID-19 cases
France announces new travel restrictions
IMF chief says Omicron could dent global economic growth
France evacuates more than 300 people from Afghanistan
UK records more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases
Italy's economy projected to grow 6.3 pct this year
Kazakhstan decreases petroleum gas export to Hungary amid global pandemic
Militants kill 7 soldiers in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state
Iran nuclear talks adjourn, resume next week
South Africa hit by fourth COVID wave driven by Omicron
Budget for social rehabilitation and childcare to reach 52 mln GEL next year, Georgian PM says
Putin informs Erdogan on main results of Sochi trilateral meeting
All news