Wednesday is Oscar night (7 p.m. on Ch. 4), and behind-the-scenes reports indicate there will be some very interesting surprises - though no one's leaking what they will be.
But many of the scheduled events, those that are not surprises, look interesting enough. Could it be this year's Oscar cast will actually be good?For example, there will be no hosts this year, rather the cameras will go from star to star as they introduce various categories and each other.
The three nominated best songs will not be sung. Allan Carr, producer of this year's show, told the Chicago Tribune's Gene Siskel that the songs are "nothing more than promotions for music videos." So instead of having them sung, the titles and songwriters' names will simply be read from the podium as with any other Oscar category.
There will, however, be a collection of clips from past Oscar shows, back when songs were written specifically for the movies instead of the charts: Jodie Foster at age 8 and young Johnny Whitaker singing "Love" from the Disney animated "Robin Hood," Liza Minnelli at age 17 singing "What's New, Pussycat?" Michael Jackson at age 10 singing "Ben," Danny Kaye and Jane Wyman singing "In the Cool, Cool of the Evening," Rock Hudson and Mae West singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Angela Lansbury doing the Charleston to "Thoroughly Modern Millie," etc.
There will be other music as well, with a sort of "brat pack" production number with 23 of Hollywood's younger stars, including Corey Feldman, Carrie Hamilton, River Phoenix, Lea Thompson, Rikki Lane, Rob Lowe, Justine Bateman, Courtney Cox, Eric Stoltz and Tyrone Power Jr.
And another big production number will feature older stars, including Alice Faye, Dorothy Lamour, Merv Griffin, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, Vincent Price, Dick Van Dyke and the Nicholas Brothers.
There will also be a montage of clips featuring the great musical stars of the '50s, including Betty Hutton and Howard Keel ("Annie Get Your Gun"), Betty Grable ("Wabash Avenue"), Rita Hayworth ("Miss Sadie Thompson"), along with Donald O'Connor, Gene Kelly, Esther Williams and an animated Tom & Jerry, Mario Lanza, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner and Elvis Presley. There will also be a tribute to Doris Day, with clips from "Love Me or Leave Me," "Calamity Jane," "Lucky Me" and others.
Many of the presenters will be in pairs - married or live-in couples, previous co-stars in major movies, friends or relatives in real life or, in the case of Cher and Michael Douglas, Oscar-winners from the same year. Included are Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell, Bob Hope & Lucille Ball, Gene Hackman & Willem Dafoe, Dustin Hoffman & Tom Cruise, Ryan O'Neal & Farah Fawcett, Melanie Griffith & Don Johnson, Bruce Willis & Demi Moore, James Stewart & Kim Novak, Dudley Moore & Bo Derek, Sammy Davis Jr. & Gregory Hines, Michael Caine & Sean Connery, Carrie Fisher & Martin Short, Donald & Kiefer Sutherland, Amy Irving & Richard Dreyfuss, Geena Davis & Jeff Goldblum, Candice Bergen & Jacqueline Bisset and Lloyd, Beau & Jeff Bridges.
Traditionally the show is scheduled for three hours, from 7 to 10 p.m. But it usually goes at least until 10:30. So how long will it be this year? Producer Carr told a news conference last week, "It will be shorter than `Lawrence of Arabia,' but longer than `Who Framed Roger Rabbit.' "