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The Oscars seem to be coming back a year after The Slap


LOS ANGELES — It’s almost time to give the Oscars a big helping hand.

OK, maybe we should rephrase that.

A year after Will Smith took the stage at the Dolby Theater and slapped Chris Rock in the face, the Oscars will reconvene on Sunday for a ceremony that will attempt to top one of the most infamous moments in Oscar history.

The Dolby Los Angeles telecast begins at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC. The show can be streamed with a subscription to Hulu Live TV, YouTubeTV, AT&T TV, and Fubo TV. You can also stream the show on and the ABC app by authenticating your provider.

Jimmy Kimmel, the show’s first solo emcee in five years, is hosting for the third time. The late-night comedian promised to crack jokes on The Slap; it would be “ridiculous” not to, he said.

Bill Kramer, managing director of the film academy, said it was important, given what happened last year, to have “a host in place who can really pivot and handle those moments. “.

“Nobody got hit when I hosted the show,” Kimmel boasted Thursday on “Good Morning America.” “Everyone did well at my Oscars.”

Kimmel will preside over a ceremony that could see big wins for the best picture favorite, ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’. The hit indie action comedy from Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert arrives with 11 nominations, including nods for Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan.

The producers are revamping certain aspects of the Oscars. The carpet is champagne color and not red. The broadcast has been planned to be more interactive than ever.

But the academy, still trying to find its footing after several years of battling the pandemic and ratings, is also hoping for a smoother ride than last year. A crisis management team has been created to help better react to surprises. The academy called its response to Smith’s actions last year “inadequate”. Neither Rock, who recently made his strongest statement about the incident on a live broadcast special, nor Smith, who was banned by the academy for 10 years, are expected to attend.

The Oscars will instead attempt to regain some of its former luster. One thing works in its favor: this year’s best picture field is filled with blockbusters. Ratings generally increase when nominees are more popular, which certainly goes for “Top Gun: Maverick”, “Avatar: The Way of Water” and, to a lesser extent, “Elvis” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once”.

But the last-minute contender who might do well in the tech categories — where the biggest movies often reign — is Netflix’s top nominee this year: German World War I epic All Quiet on the Western Front. “. It’s up for nine awards, tied for second with Irish dark comedy ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’. Netflix’s “Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro” also looks like a shoo-in for Best Animated Feature.

Rewards will also have some wattage in musical performances. Fresh off of her Super Bowl performance, Rihanna will perform her Oscar-nominated song, “Lift Me Up,” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” “This Is Life,” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” will be sung by David Byrne and nominated supporting actress Stephanie Hsu with the band Son Lux. Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava will perform “Naatu Naatu” from the Indian action epic “RRR”. Lenny Kravitz will perform during the In Memoriam tribute. (Lady Gaga, currently in production on a film, will not perform her nominated song “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick.”)

Last year, Apple TV’s “CODA” became the first streaming movie to win Best Picture. But this year, nine of the top 10 nominees were theatrical releases. After the collapse of the film industry during the pandemic, the cinema has recovered approximately 67% of pre-pandemic levels. But it was a year of ups and downs, full of resounding successes and anxiety-provoking lulls in theaters.

At the same time, the streaming rush met with further setbacks as studios questioned long-term profitability and re-examined their exit strategies. This year, ticket sales were strong thanks to releases like “Creed III” and “Cocaine Bear.” But there are still storm clouds on the horizon. The Writers Guild and major studios are set to begin contract negotiations on March 20, an impending battle that has much of the industry worried about the possibility of a work stoppage in film and television.

The Oscars, meanwhile, are trying to reestablish their position as the premier awards show. Last year’s TV show drew 16.6 million viewers, a 58% increase from the scaled-down 2021 edition, watched by a record 10.5 million.

Usually, the acting winners from the previous year present the Best Actor and Best Actress awards. But that won’t be the case this time. Who will replace Smith in the Best Actress presentation is just one of the questions being asked ahead of the ceremony.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.