Oscars kick off with early awards, ‘Dune’ wins

Oscars kick off with early awards, 'Dune' wins

Sydney, 2022-03-27 17:53:00. Oscars kick off with early awards, ‘Dune’ wins

LOS ANGELES – The 94th Academy Awards Sunday kicked off off-camera, with the night’s top eight awards handed out at the Dolby Theater before the broadcast began.

Dolby was pretty much full in time for the introductory show at 7 p.m. ET, which the Academy dubbed “the golden hour.” Hosts Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin have announced the winners, and their sermons will be edited into the broadcast starting at 8pm.

The first prize went to “Dune” for best sound. It was likely to be the first of several prizes for Denis Villeneuve’s epic science fiction, which he prefers to win in several artistic categories.

“The Queen of Basketball,” about basketball player Lucia Harris, was named Best Documentary Short. Among the company’s executive producers are Steph Curry and Shaquille O’Neal. The Long Goodbye, a fictional short film starring Riz Ahmed, and The Windshield Wiper for Best Animated Short Film also won.

It was a bizarre and controversial start to the Oscars who were hoping to bring some normality back to the entertainment world. Two years into the pandemic, and under the warm California sun Sunday, the glamorous Hollywood ritual is once again beginning to swing.

But the early awards — which were cut from live TV in a bid to raise ratings after a record drop in audiences last year — were one of the many shifts, subtle and tectonic, around this year’s gala. After the release of 2021 Social Distancing, the Academy Awards are trying to reclaim their place in pop culture with a revamped television broadcast that’s expected to see the streaming service win Best Picture for the first time.

It won’t be easy. The movie industry largely recovered from the pandemic in 2021, but despite one of the biggest hits in years in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the recovery has been choppy. The global film industry sold about half as much tickets last year as it did two years ago, $21.3 billion in 2021 compared to $42.3 billion in 2019, according to the Motion Picture Association. Hollywood has pushed many of its best movies straight into the homes than ever before; Half of the 10 nominees for Best Picture of the Year have aired or very close to release. Even the Film Academy has turned entirely into a streaming platform for voters, rather than DVD projectors.

Then there are the challenges of drawing global attention to a Hollywood self-congratulatory night two years into the pandemic, while the Russian war ravages Ukraine. Packer said the war in Ukraine would be respectfully recognized during the broadcast. Some stars, such as Sean Penn, lobbied the academy to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak at the ceremony. Some stars wore blue ribbons to support Ukraine.

Netflix’s The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion’s western gothic movie, comes with 12 leading nominations and a good chance of winning first prize. But all this impetus comes from the Sian Heder family drama “CODA”, which, although it boasts only three gestures, is considered a favourite. The win would be a victory for Apple TV+, which acquired the film from the Sundance Film Festival last year and spent significant sums promoting the film for Academy members.

After several years without a host, the Academy Awards will turn to the trio of Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall to run the broadcast, which also airs on platforms including Hulu Live TV, YouTubeTV and ABC.com with provider authentication. The producers also assembled a star-studded lineup of artists including Billie Eilish and Beyonce to sing the nominated songs, while “Encanto” will perform Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” (However, Miranda will not attend after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.) Also planned: Anniversary celebrations for Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (50) and James Bond (60).

It’s going to be an amazing start, as the stars make their way to Dolby at different times. The pre-show on ABC’s red carpet starts from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The first hour of awards will take place inside the theater between 7-8 p.m. News of these winners will be posted first on social media and later woven into the telecast. To accommodate the shift, the red carpet will also open an hour earlier than usual, at 4 p.m. ET.

The modified approach, which is not very popular with some members of the academy, should result in some complicated red-carpet logistics. The Academy, which wanted to give each winner a moment of unrelenting, urges the audience to take their seats by 7 p.m., which rolled out a red carpet earlier, with several stars – including Jessica Chastain, the nominee for “Tammy’s Eyes” Faye” – Arrive with enough time to be seated before the show.

“I’m here to watch all the early classes because often a lot of attention gets paid to the actors because people see our faces on screen,” Chastain said. “But the truth is, there are so many people involved in creating a show and creating a movie, and I need to acknowledge and admire every single one of them. I’m excited. I mean, to be here tonight, I can see all your faces without masks. It’s really emotional and so beautiful.”

Hairstyling and makeup (for which “Tammy Fay” was nominated) is one of eight pre-show categories that are distributed during what producers call the “golden hour”. Other features are: Film Editing, Audio, Original Recording, Production Design, Live Action Short, Animation Short and Documentary Short.

“We’re on our way, we’ll see how it goes,” said Nicholas Brittle, the nominee for his “Don’t Look Up” result, laughing and ignoring the red carpet. “We all learn, we all learn.”

Already Inside Dolby long before the show’s time was Donald Mowat, nominated for hair and makeup for “Dune.”

“I have been in this field for 35 years,” Mowat said. “This is really the Oscar for me.”

Earlier this month, more than 70 Academy Award winners, including James Cameron, Kathleen Kennedy and Guillermo del Toro, warned that the change would turn some nominees into “second-class citizens.”

Behind this change, there is an alarm about the rapid decline in the Academy Awards rates. While dips were common on all major network awards shows, last year’s show drew only about 10 million viewers, down from half of the 23.6 million in the previous year. A decade ago, it was close to 40 million.

To help regain Oscar prominence, some argued in the run-up to this year’s awards that a blockbuster like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” should have been nominated for Best Picture. It is up to visual effects only.

Instead, a wide range of movies are on the hunt, from the hit Netflix comedy “Don’t Look Up” and the three-hour Japanese drama “Drive My Car.”

One thing the producers promised: Tonight’s final award would be Best Picture. Last year’s show concluded awkwardly with an unexpected submission for Best Actor for a Non-Existent Actor Anthony Hopkins.


Associated Press writers Lindsey Barr, Jocelyn Novick, Andrew Dalton and Amanda Lee Myers contributed to this report.

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