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The 85th Annual Academy Awards

The 85th Annual Academy Awards takes place Sunday, February 24 in Hollywood.

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Showers put a damper on preparations underway in Hollywood for Sunday’s Academy Awards. Mary Beth McDade reports for the KTLA 5 News at 10 on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014.

List of street and sidewalk closures in the days leading up to the Academy Awards in Hollywood:

road-closed-bg21 days Prior to Show (SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2014):

Close Orchid Alley from Orange Drive to Orchid Street from 8:00 AM to 8:00 AM on Saturday, March 8, 2014, except for emergency vehicles.

14 Days Prior to Show (SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014):

Close north curb lane of Hollywood Boulevard from Highland Avenue to south east corner of Orange Drive from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (Except MTA buses until Sunday, February 23, 2014)

Close north sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard from Highland Avenue to 230 feet east of Orange Drive allowing 8-foot pedestrian access from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM Tuesday, March 4, 2014..Close east and west curb lanes on Orange Drive from Hollywood.

Boulevard to Orchid Alley from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

11 days Prior to Show (WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2014):

Close north curb lane of Hawthorn Avenue from Highland Avenue to Orange Drive from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM Tuesday, March 4, 2014. MTA to re-route bus traffic.

7 Days Prior to Show (SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2014):

Close south sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard from Orange Drive to Highland Avenue from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM Tuesday, March 4, 2014, except 8-foot pedestrian access.

Close all lanes of Hollywood Boulevard from the southeast corner of Orange Drive to Highland Avenue from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Close north sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Dolby Theatre portal from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM Tuesday, March 4, 2014. This is a complete sidewalk closure in front of the entrance to Awards Walk. Pedestrian traffic re-routed and emergency access available.

Close balance of north sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard from Highland Avenue to Orange Drive allowing 8-foot pedestrian access from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Close the pedestrian crosswalk, mid-block on Hollywood Boulevard between Orange Drive and Highland Avenue, from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Close south curb lane of Hawthorn Avenue from Highland Avenue to Orange Drive from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Close Hawthorn Alley behind El Capitan Theatre from 300 feet east of Orange Drive east to the “T” alley from 10:00 PM. to 6:00 AM on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The remainder of Hawthorn Alley to remain open from the “T” east to Highland Avenue.

6 Days Prior to Show (SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2014):

Close Hawthorn Alley on the east side of the El Capitan Theatre from Hollywood Boulevard south 210 feet to “T” of east/west alley from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

2 Days Prior to Show (FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2014):

Close Hawthorn Avenue from Highland Avenue to Orange Drive from 12:01 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014.

1 Day Prior to Show (SATURDAY, MARCH 1, 2014):

Close Orchid Street from 60 feet south of Franklin Boulevard to Orchid Alley from 6:00 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014 except for residents, emergency vehicles, and hotel loading.

Close Orange Drive from Orchid Alley to Hollywood Boulevard from 6:00 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014. Exception for local residents, local business access, and emergency vehicles.

Close north and south sidewalk of Hawthorn Avenue from Highland Avenue to Orange Drive from 12:01 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014.

Close north sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard from Highland Avenue to Orange Drive from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014. MTA station to be by-passed from the last regularly scheduled train on Saturday, March 1 until the first scheduled train after 6:00 AM on Monday, March 3, 2014. Pedestrian traffic rerouted to south sidewalk. Pedestrian traffic rerouted to south sidewalk.

Close west sidewalk of Highland Avenue from Johnny Grant Way south to Hollywood Boulevard from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014.

Close Johnny Grant Way from Highland Avenue to Orchid Street from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014.

Day of Show (SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2014):

Close remainder of Hawthorn Alley from Orange Drive to Highland Avenue from 12:01 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014.

Close Orange Drive from Hawthorn Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard from 12:01 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3,2014.

Close north sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard from Highland Avenue to 300 feet east of Highland Avenue in front of closed businesses from 12:01 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014. Erect bike rack.

Close south sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard from Highland Avenue to 300 feet east of Highland Avenue from 12:01 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014 except for 8-foot pedestrian access. Erect bike rack.

Close south sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard directly in front of the north-south running Hawthorn Alley from 12:01 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014. Erect fencing along the entire sidewalk. No pedestrian access to cross alley.

Close east sidewalk of Highland Avenue from Hollywood Boulevard to Hawthorn Avenue from 12:01 AM to 6:00 A.M. Monday, March 3, 2014 except for 8-foot pedestrian access. Erect bike rack.

Close west sidewalk of Highland Avenue from Hollywood Boulevard south to Hawthorn Avenue from 12:01 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014 except for 8-foot pedestrian access. Erect bike rack and fencing.

Close east sidewalk of Highland Avenue from Yucca Street south to the alley from 12:01 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014 except for 8-foot pedestrian access.

Close north and south crosswalks on Hollywood Boulevard at the Highland Avenue intersection from 4:00 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014.

Close north and south crosswalks on Hollywood Boulevard at the Highland Avenue intersection from 4:00 AM to 6:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014.

Close Hollywood Boulevard from La Brea Boulevard to Orange Drive from 4:00 AM to 4:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014.

Close Hollywood Boulevard from Highland Avenue to Cahuenga Boulevard from 4:00 AM to 4:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014.

Close Hawthorn Avenue between Orange Drive and La Brea Boulevard from 4:00 AM to 4:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014. (Exception for local residents, local business access, and emergency vehicles)

Close Hawthorn Avenue between Highland Avenue and McCadden Place from 4:00 AM to 4:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014. (Exception for local residents, local business access, and emergency vehicles)

Close McCadden Place between Yucca Street and Hollywood Boulevard from 4:00 AM to 4:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014. (Exception for local residents, local business access, and emergency vehicles)

Close Yucca Street between Highland Avenue and Wilcox Avenue from 4:00 AM to 4:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014. (Exception for local residents, local business access, and emergency vehicles)

Close Wilcox Avenue between Sunset Blvd and Cahuenga Boulevard from 4:00 AM to 4:00 AM Monday, March 3, 2014. (Exception for local residents, local business access, and emergency vehicles)

Restricted access on streets that end at or intersect Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue at the discretion of the LAPD and LADOT.

Information via Oscars.org.

(CNN) — “Argo,” praise yourself. That’s what Hollywood did on Sunday night, anyway.

argo-wins-pic“Argo,” which told the story of the rescue operation that saved six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis, took home three Oscars at the 85th Academy Awards, including the biggest award of the night: best picture.

It was both an expected and yet unlikely conclusion to an awards season that took off in strange directions, though it ended up pretty much where the Oscar prognosticators thought it would.

Director Ben Affleck, who co-produced the film with George Clooney and Grant Heslov, acknowledged the strangeness of the process in his acceptance speech.

Back in early January, “Argo” was considered an Oscar also-ran, if only because Affleck was overlooked in the best director category.

In the entire history of the Oscars, just three films had won best picture without a directing nomination, and just one, “Driving Miss Daisy,” in the last 80 years.

But then the film caught fire, winning awards from the producers’, directors’ and actors’ guilds, as well as a Golden Globe, AFI Award and BAFTA. The bandwagon seemed unstoppable, except for that lack of a directing nomination.

Affleck, however, really was happy just to be here and gave a nod to his up-and-down past in his speech.

“I never thought I would be back here, and I am,” he said, thanking many people who were kind to him in Hollywood when he couldn’t repay them.

The film was also honored for its screenplay, by Chris Terrio, and William Goldenberg’s editing.

“This is nuts!”

Oscar night itself held few surprises after a season that seemed to promise an anything-goes affair.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the appearance of one of the presenters: first lady Michelle Obama, who joined Jack Nicholson via satellite to read the winner of best picture.

But most of the show met expectations. Jennifer Lawrence, just 22, won best actress for her performance as a troubled widow in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

The performer was as down-to-earth in her acceptance as she’s been all season. Indeed, she almost came down to earth literally, slipping on her flowing dress as she approached the stage.

“This is nuts!” she exclaimed before thanking the other nominees in her category. She concluded with happy birthday greetings for Emmanuelle Riva, nominated for “Amour.” Riva turned 86 Sunday.

Daniel Day-Lewis set a record with his third best actor win, this time for playing Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln.”

The usually serious actor got off perhaps the funniest acceptance of the night when he turned to Meryl Streep, who had presented the award, and noted that originally their roles were supposed to be reversed.

“It’s a strange thing, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher, and Meryl was Steven’s first choice for Lincoln,” he said to laughter. “I’d like to see that version.”

Streep won best actress last year for playing Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”

In a mild surprise, Ang Lee won the Oscar for best director for “Life of Pi.” The film, based on the novel by Yann Martel, won four Oscars, the most for any film.

“Thank you movie god,” he said, praising “all 3,000″ people who worked on the movie with him.

Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”) won best supporting actress and Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained”) won best supporting actor.

Hathaway looked at her statue in wonder.

“It came true,” she said.

MacFarlane shines

James Bond, too, emerged a winner. After 50 years of great (and not-so-great) Bond themes, one of them finally won: Adele’s “Skyfall.”

The music, in fact, carried much of what was an uneven broadcast.

Shirley Bassey, the original James Bond hit singer, dazzled with a version of “Goldfinger.”

Soon after, Jennifer Hudson raised the roof, and got a standing ovation, for a remarkable version of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” from “Dreamgirls.”

Hudson won an Oscar for playing Effie, who sings the song, in 2006′s film version. Adele sang “Skyfall,” and Barbra Streisand sang “The Way We Were” for co-writer Marvin Hamlisch, who concluded the “In Memoriam” segment.

Host Seth MacFarlane started slowly, but got looser (and funnier) as the show stretched into its fourth hour.

His opening consisted of some mild jokes, only a couple of which drew gasps, and some dandy song-and-dance numbers.

William Shatner, in character as “Star Trek’s” James T. Kirk, offered advice — he was from the future, after all — so MacFarlane wouldn’t go down as the “worst Oscar host ever.”

But it was later in the show that MacFarlane really shined, whether it was maintaining an affable, cracking-wise-in-the-living-room demeanor or simply keeping the proceedings moving along as much as the Oscars can be moved along.

At one point, welcoming Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda to give the best director honor, he quipped, “They remember when this town was cocaine trees as far as the eye can see.”

“My taste aside, this is a great show for people who love Seth MacFarlane and musical theater. Which is pretty much Seth MacFarlane,” tweeted Time’s James Poniewozik.

Twitter, of course, was the appropriate place to crack wise, and express displeasure with Oscar’s choices.

“Just a friendly reminder that Harry Potter never won an Oscar. Apparently, inspiring an entire generation isn’t good enough,” wrote Professor Snape. (For those who’ve never seen one of the eight Potter movies, Snape is a wizard professor.)

“So are they going to do the BIG FOUR AWARDS in the next 12 minutes?” said Michael Buckley, noting the show’s typically glacial pace.

And at least one person was upset at a snub during the “In Memoriam” segment, which began with Ernest Borgnine, paid tribute to critic Andrew Sarris among many others, and concluded with Hamlisch.

“Will someone at the academy ask why Andy Griffith, who was in more than a dozen films, not in the memoriam while publicists were?” tweeted Chuck Raasch.

Affleck rising

Snubs seemed to be the theme of this year’s Oscar season, none more than Affleck’s for director.

But he wasn’t having it.

Ten years ago, after all, he was a punch line. After winning an Oscar in 1998 for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” with his good friend Matt Damon, he’d plunged into critical and/or box-office failure — “Bounce,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Changing Lanes,” “Daredevil” — topped by “Gigli,” the 2003 flop that became synonymous with the word “flop.”

He was a tabloid staple — romances with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez will do that — and so ripe for mockery that Mindy Kaling (!) played him as a track-suited doofus in her off-Broadway play, “Matt and Ben.”

The Oscar? Just luck. After all, in “Matt and Ben,” the script for “Good Will Hunting” literally falls from the heavens.

Sunday night, he showed that you make your own luck. It was a topic he touched on a few weeks ago, when the film’s ride to the top was just picking up steam.

“I just feel so incredibly honored to be nominated as a producer for this movie, to be here at the big party,” he told reporters at the Oscar luncheon in early February.

“I don’t get into worrying too much about who got what and who didn’t get what. I mean, I’ve had many, many, many, many, many, many years watching from home.”

As he thanked the academy for the best picture prize, he graciously paid tribute to many people, from “Lincoln” director Steven Spielberg to the nation of Canada, which some observers believe got short shrift in “Argo.”

His words, perhaps, might inspire a little more humility on the part of people who raged on his behalf.

“You can’t hold grudges. It’s hard, but you can’t hold grudges,” he said, tearing up. “And it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, ’cause that’s gonna happen. It matters how you get up.”

Oscars 2013: Daniel Day-Lewis wins best actor for ‘Lincoln.’

Oscars 2013: Jennifer Lawrence wins best actress.

Best Original Song: Adele’s “Skyfall” wins 2013 Oscar.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Gordon Ramsay, “Hell’s Kitchen” star and the name behind Gordon Ramsay at The London in Los Angeles, has designed the menu for the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Academy Awards Viewing Party Sunday at West Hollywood Park. Sir Elton John and partner David Furnish will host the fête now in its 21st year.

Each year, a celebrity chef is tapped to create the party menu, which for the past nine years has been executed by Crumble Catering. Ramsay’s menu will include chilled Dungeness crab, cauliflower celeriac soup, beef short ribs, roasted red snapper with jasmine fruit rice, roasted beet and goat cheese salad and for dessert sticky toffee sweet pudding cake. Guests can also munch on passed grilled cheese sandwiches and Gorgonzola mac ‘n’ cheese BBQ chicken bites. There will also be a post viewing reception with lobster-stuffed deviled eggs, steak frites and a sweets station with peanut butter pretzel cookies, chocolate mini ding-a-lings and more.

The viewing party, sponsored by Chopard, Neuro Drinks and Wells Fargo, has raised nearly $34 million to help the foudation support initiatives including direct treatment, care, support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, sexual health education and more. After dinner is served, Jamie Niven from Sotheby’s will conduct a live auction and Scottish artist Emeli Sandé will perform.

Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Back in September, it was going to be “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Then it was “Argo.”

Then “Les Miserables.” “Zero Dark Thirty” picked up some steam. “Lincoln” got raves.

Then back to “Les Miz.” Over to “Lincoln.” And, finally, the buzz settled on “Argo.”

This year’s Oscar race has been anything but predictable.

As festival chatter has given way to box office tallies, critics’ honors and guild awards, the perceived leaders for best picture have changed almost as often as the country’s top-ranked college basketball team. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences further muddied matters when it failed to nominate the directors of four best picture nominees — “Argo,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Les Miserables” and “Django Unchained” — for best director.

Bad for the conventional wisdom. Good for competition.

“I love all the suspense this year,” said Oscar watcher Tom O’Neil, who runs the GoldDerby.com awards blog. “There are a lot of precedents being set.”

For example, he observes, usually the film with the most nominations is the front-runner for best picture. This year, the most-nominated film is Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” which earned 12 nods. But the movie that’s shown the most staying power at the various awards ceremonies since then — including the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and the Producers Guild — has been Ben Affleck’s “Argo,” making the latter film the front-runner for the big prize Sunday night. “Argo” is up for seven Oscars.

Moreover, Affleck’s picture has dominated despite being snubbed by the academy in several categories, most notably best director. (In fact, among the Big Six categories of picture, director, actor, actress, supporting actor and supporting actress, “Argo” has just two nominations, three fewer than “Lincoln,” despite a top-notch cast.) In the entire history of the Oscars, just three films have won best picture without a directing nomination. The most recent was 1989′s “Driving Miss Daisy,” which won the top prize despite director Bruce Beresford getting shut out.

Unlike Beresford, however, Affleck received the support of his peers at the Directors Guild of America, which awarded him its top prize a few weeks ago; Beresford didn’t even make the DGA cut in 1989.

Is the rank-and-file trying to send the academy a message?

O’Neil believes they are.

Years ago, he points out, a situation like Affleck’s Oscar snub would have been noted and then forgotten in the face of a much-nominated film such as “Lincoln.” Today, with social media and blogs constantly debating the Oscars’ merit, the argument isn’t over until PricewaterhouseCoopers finishes tallying the votes.

“That’s evidence of how different the Oscars are today,” he said.

In addition, the DGA award is about the many over the few: The DGA is voted on by more than 14,000 members of the directors’ guild — a group that includes assistants, TV specialists and other forms of helmers — while the Oscar nominees for best director were selected by the roughly 370 members of the academy’s directors’ branch, a more homogenous group, said O’Neil.

Clayton Davis, who oversees AwardsCircuit.com, has another theory: that “Argo” is everybody’s alternative. Given the way the Oscars are tallied, with voters ranking their picks from favorite to least favorite, a film with a lot of twos and threes will do better than a film that some people love and others loathe.

“You’ll find your haters for ‘Lincoln,’ you’ll find your haters for ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ you’ll find your haters for ‘Les Miz.’ But everybody, for the most part, at least says ‘Argo’ was good,” he said. “So in a preferential balloting system ‘Argo’s’ not likely to have a lot of No. 9 votes. And in a preferential balloting system, two, three and four can easily make up the winner.”

Lifetime achievements and new faces

This year, at least, almost all the best picture nominees have a rooting interest. As opposed to recent years, when many nominees struggled to crack even $50 million domestically, this time all but three of the nine best picture films — “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Amour” and “Zero Dark Thirty” — have topped $100 million at the North American box office. Some have established financial benchmarks: “Django Unchained” is Quentin Tarantino’s highest-grossing film ever, and “Silver Linings Playbook” is tops among David O. Russell’s films.

And though the Oscars are Hollywood-centric, the global market is always in studios’ thoughts. In that respect, “Life of Pi” has been a juggernaut, making almost $600 million worldwide since its release.

“Life of Pi,” in fact, may sneak into the winner’s circle if the “Argo” bandwagon slows. One academy voter interviewed by CNN said “Pi,” directed by Ang Lee, was his favorite film among the nominees; “Argo” didn’t make his top three. (Neither did “Lincoln,” for that matter.) Davis adds that anybody voting for Spielberg will likely vote for “Lincoln,” and because “Lincoln’s” momentum has halted he suspects Spielberg will lose best director to Lee or Russell. Lee, whose film was a special-effects marvel, may have the many members of the technical branches behind him.

Ang Lee’s film “Life of Pi,” based on the best-selling book, could sneak into the winner’s circle.

“If Spielberg wins director, he’s going to have three director wins, but only one of his films (‘Schindler’s List’) will have won best picture in his career,” he said. “That would be a little crazy. So I think Russell and Ang Lee are coming up strong.”

O’Neil agrees. “Life of Pi” also has the second-most Oscar nominations this year, it received 11, and “its back story is extraordinary,” since Yann Martel’s best-selling 2001 novel was long considered unfilmable, he said.

Best picture isn’t the only category without a shoo-in. In fact, with the exception of best actor, which has been Daniel Day-Lewis’ race to lose since the “Lincoln” trailers first hit the Web, the other contests are still anybody’s guess.

Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”) was long considered the front-runner for best actress. She fits several of the academy’s biases — she’s young and rising, she’s box office gold (both “Playbook” and “The Hunger Games” were box office successes) and she’s a critical darling. Past examples of her type include Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon.

But there’s also a tendency for the academy to offer “lifetime achievement awards,” giving Oscars to veteran performers who have been overlooked in the past. (See Jessica Tandy and Geraldine Page.) If that’s the way things are going, and O’Neil is seeing movement in that direction, expect 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva to take home the golden statue.

“There’s been a real surge among academy members. She suddenly has the cool factor,” O’Neil said.

After wins for Lawrence and Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”) at the various industry get-togethers, Riva suddenly burst from the pack with a win at the BAFTAs, the British Oscars. Her exposure wasn’t hurt when the Hollywood Reporter put together a 2,000-word profile on the famed French actress, perhaps best known in the United States for Alain Resnais’ inscrutable 1959 classic “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” and the “Blue” chapter of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Three Colors” trilogy.

On the other side of the age spectrum is “Beasts of the Southern Wild’s” Quvenzhane Wallis, who was just 6 when she filmed the little indie. (She’s 9 now and still the youngest best actress nominee ever.) Though some commentators have raised questions about whether a 6-year-old can actually act — or is, essentially, just being herself — there’s no question the academy loves honoring youngsters: usually with just a nomination, but sometimes more. Just ask Tatum O’Neal and Anna Paquin.

A first for James Bond?

Similarly, though Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”) has been close to a lock for best supporting actress, there’s an outside chance that Sally Field (“Lincoln”) could take the prize. It’s her first nomination since she won best actress for 1984′s “Places in the Heart,” which prompted her famous “You like me! Right now, you like me!” speech.

At 85, French actress Emmanuelle Riva is the oldest person ever nominated for best actress.

But the race hardest to predict is probably best supporting actor. All five nominees have won before; all five have arguments in their favor.

The sentimental favorite is probably Robert De Niro, who’s made more heartfelt guest appearances on behalf of “Silver Linings Playbook” than he has for any number of his other recent films. Besides, as “Playbook’s” studio head (and always shrewd Oscar campaigner) Harvey Weinstein told CNN, “Bob De Niro hasn’t won an Oscar in 32 years.” (Yes, it’s true: “Raging Bull” was De Niro’s last win.)

But don’t count out Alan Arkin (“Argo”), Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”), Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained”) or even Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”). Arkin is “Argo’s” only acting nomination; the film’s bandwagon could carry him to victory. And Jones, Hoffman and Waltz have all won trophies during this awards season.

Davis’ money is on Waltz. The actor won both a BAFTA and Golden Globe for his performance as a 19th-century bounty hunter, and he’s seen as more appreciative than Jones or Hoffman, neither of whom gave speeches when they won their honors, said Davis.

Other awards, the ones that pay off in everybody’s Oscar pool, are also up for grabs. Will best film editing go to “Argo,” the taut minimalism of “Zero Dark Thirty” or the careful rhythms of “Life of Pi”? Will animated feature honor the Pixar masters behind “Brave” or the off-center, long-gestating Tim Burton project “Frankenweenie?” Will Adele’s James Bond theme “Skyfall” win best song, or will it go to this year’s host, Seth MacFarlane, for his “Everybody Needs a Best Friend”?

Don’t rule out MacFarlane; his co-writer is Walter Murphy, who once turned Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony into a No. 1 pop hit. On the other hand, no James Bond theme — not “Goldfinger,” not “Live and Let Die,” not “Nobody Does It Better,” not even anything by Matt Munro, A-ha or Madonna — has ever won an Oscar, so 007 is overdue.

The uncertainty will make for some surprise winners, both in the Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak) and in wagering living rooms across America.

“I’ve spoken to several academy members, and they’re all over the place, too,” said Davis.

It’s no wonder that the nominees have been modest and circumspect about their chances, nobody more so than Affleck. Though he’s a producer of “Argo,” which means he’ll get to accept a best picture trophy if the film wins, he’s attracted far more attention for being ignored for best director than he ever would have for being nominated.

“I just feel so incredibly honored to be nominated as a producer for this movie, to be here at the big party,” he told reporters at the Oscar luncheon in early February. “I don’t get into worrying too much about who got what and who didn’t get what. I mean, I’ve had many, many, many, many, many, many years watching from home.”

But despite some observers already instructing Affleck to prepare yet another list of thank-yous, don’t assume “Argo” the movie will reign as triumphant as its risk-taking characters, said Davis. Sure, it’s good. But best picture? That’s something else entirely.

“I’m hearing a little bit, that when ‘Argo’ started winning everything, some people started scratching their heads,” he said. “‘Really? That’s what I’m supposed to be picking?’”

The 85th Academy Awards are scheduled for Sunday on ABC. The show will air from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

CNN

For More Information:

Hollywood Street Closures

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Get an inside look at a celebrity’s view of the Oscars red carpet, looking at the press bleachers where rows of cameras and reporters will soon be. Lu Parker has that, plus a look at this year’s unusual host.

Lu Parker begins her transition to become red-carpet ready. First up – hair!

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