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They’ve tallied the votes, gilded those giant Oscar statues and rolled out the red carpet. Fans of film, frocks and famous faces will turn their eyes to Hollywood tonight for the 89th annual Academy Awards.
Late-night TV’s Jimmy Kimmel makes his debut as Oscar host, joining a club of funny folks whose membership includes Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Johnny Carson and Bob Hope.
Celebrity presenters will include all four of 2016’s acting winners — Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson, Alicia Vikander and Mark Rylance — as well as Halle Berry, Amy Adams, John Cho, Dwayne Johnson, David Oyelowo, Scarlett Johansson, Gael Garcia Bernal, Samuel L. Jackson, Hailee Steinfeld and more.
Slated to take the stage to perform the five original song contenders are Justin Timberlake (Can’t Stop the Feeling from Trolls), John Legend (Audition and City of Stars from La La Land), Lin-Manuel Miranda and Auli’i Cravalho (How Far I’ll Go from Moana) and Sting (The Empty Chair from Jim: The James Foley Story).
Sara Bareilles will also sing for the show’s In Memoriam tribute.
The musical love story La La Land is the one to beat heading into the awards. It nabbed a record-tying 14 nominations and has been a favourite of critics groups and other awards shows this season. Its rivals for best picture are:
With a former reality TV star who delights in creating controversy now in the Oval Office, politics has seeped into all aspects of American life, including the entertainment world. It’s widely expected that speeches will get political, as they have throughout the preceding awards season. Whether viewers tune out remains to be seen.
However, while this crop of Oscar contenders better reflects today’s diversity, it’s not a total triumph. As many have pointed out, there’s a lot to be done to better incorporate underrepresented film industry groups — from Latino, Asian, Indigenous and LGBT performers to female filmmakers, screenwriters, editors and other movie specialists.
It’s a banner year for Canuck finalists at this year’s Academy Awards, with Ontario-born actor Ryan Gosling vying for a trophy and Quebec filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi thinker Arrival a top contender.
Aside from Gosling and Villeneuve’s bids for best actor and director respectively, Canadians are also nominated across multiple Oscar categories, including best picture, animated short, production design, set design, sound mixing, sound editing and documentary feature.
More Oscars 2017 coverage: