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Oscars 2013: Five local reasons to watch
There's a lot to look for at the 85th Academy Awards ceremony tonight, from red-carpet analysis to handing out of hardware in the most coveted categories.
ABC's coverage from the red carpet begins at 7 p.m., and the ceremony starts at 8:30. But before then, Newsday Westchester is offering five incentives to watch the broadcast in its entirety, keeping a focus on Hudson Valley connections.
Who will be responsible for fashion fiascos? Not all sartorial choices are wise. Just ask former Palisades resident Bjork, who donned a now-infamous swan dress, and former Vassar College student Anne Hathaway, who's had a couple of recent wardrobe malfunctions. But don't expect too many conservative looks, either. In Hollywood, it's arguably better to be memorable — even for the wrong reasons — than forgotten.
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NOMINEES: Oscars nominations 2013 | Hudson Valley celebs react to Oscar nominations | Benh Zeitlin on directing 'Beasts,' Oscar nods
MORE: Oscar trivia quiz: Local nominees, hosts and more | Local celebs’ most memorable Oscar speeches | 2013 Oscars: Your complete guide
Will host Seth MacFarlane 'have a plan'? If the mastermind behind "Family Guy" and "Ted" doesn't know how high-stakes hosting the Oscars can be, he can refer to a December interview Hathaway gave to Entertainment Weekly. In it, Hathaway, whose co-hosting of the 2011 ceremony with James Franco was panned by many critics, offers advice to MacFarlane, a first-time host: "Have a plan," she said. "Have several." More specifically: "You have to try to strike a balance between keeping the people of the room entertained and keeping the people at home from thinking you’re nuts." MacFarlane seems to have taken Hathaway's advice, since he has major plans for for the finale. After the final award is announced, he and actress Kristin Chenoweth will perform a special musical number to close out the show.
Can presenters refrain from being awkward? Among the celebrities awarding the Oscars this Sunday are Hudson Valley respresentatives who already have won the award: Vassar alumna Meryl Streep, Pound Ridge resident Richard Gere, Millbrook homeowner Liam Neeson, and Bedford power-couple Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. All accomplished actors, for certain, but that doesn't always mean things go smoothly at the podium. Just ask Zeta-Jones, whose pitch-perfect yet oddly timed singing of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from "Les Misérables" was met by an awkward silence by the Golden Globes crowd last month.
Speaking of singing, how will local actors sound during musical performances? Zeta-Jones, who won an Oscar for her performance in "Chicago," will have another chance to earn applause for her singing as part of an A-list ensemble to honor movie-musicals. She'll join "Les Mis" stars Hathaway, Russell Crowe (who briefly lived in Nyack during the filming of "American Gangster"), Aaron Tveit (who was born and raised in Middletown) and others in a tribute to those films and "Dreamgirls." So far, Jennifer Hudson is on board for the "Dreamgirls" portion, but could that mean Eddie Murphy (a former Poughquag resident) and Beyoncé (who claimed her marriage license in Scarsdale) will be waiting in the wings?
Which local nominees will take home the gold? Years from now, when most of the night's fashion choices, monologue jokes and song performances are long forgotten, people will remember who won and who lost. Hathaway's the favorite to win best supporting actress for her performance in "Les Mis." Hastings High School grad Benh Zeitlin can win for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” as a director, screenwriter (he co-wrote its adapted screenplay) and/or producer (if it wins best picture). Former Larchmont resident Ang Lee is up for "Life of Pi," one of the film's 11 nominations. "Flight" has two local tie-ins: Denzel Washington, who grew up in Mount Vernon, is nominated in the best actor category; and John Gatins, who grew up in Poughquag and graduated from Arlington High School and Vassar College, earned a nod for best original screenplay. And don't count out former Chappaqua resident Alan Arkin, who's up for best supporting actor; "Argo" momentum might give him another Oscar. Among local nominees, Hathaway is a near-lock and Zeitlin is a bit of a longshot in all of his categories, but the Oscars are known to surprise now and then. Case in point: Ben Affleck, who's winning most of this season's directorial awards for "Argo," isn't even nominated for best director.
Which Oscar nominee for best picture is your favorite? Vote in Newsday Westchester's poll and explain your answer in the comments section below.
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