From arrivals to awards, night of glitz is back

It is almost as viewed as the Super Bowl, and possibly some of the same elements of the big game, also seen at the Academy Awards ceremony, are what keep viewers coming back. There’s the clash of titanic egos and over-the-top entertainment breaks and the brute force seen on the smiling faces of the losing nominees. Whether the night means to you, “Thank goodness award season is almost over” or “Break out the champagne,” there will always be excess and drama all over some little bald guy named Oscar.

Ellen DeGeneres is hosting the awards for the first time and can cite experience hosting the Grammys and the Emmys. It may be that these experiences will help her with one of the thankless jobs in Hollywood. The Kodak Theatre is known to be the place jokes go to die, where if you tell an unpopular joke, it will haunt you forever. David Letterman will always be known for introducing Uma to Oprah and Jon Stewart heard crickets when he made fun of all of Hollywood. To tell famous members of the audience to get over themselves would probably fall on deaf diamond-laced ears. But maybe they should consider a different standard for the host. Make sure she doesn’t tell a 10-minute joke about the infamous length of the show – that’s the worst.

Hosts aside, the show is worth watching. Chances are the supporting actor categories will provide a moment of excitement. Dreamgirl Jennifer Hudson is nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Effie White. The American Idol reject performed “And I’m Telling You (I’m Not Going)” in the movie. The Academy probably listened and will return its affection with a trophy if just for that song. Eddie Murphy, who starred with Hudson, has a strong chance of winning in the supporting actor category. His unusual performance left one to say, “Is that really him?” And he didn’t even have to wear a fat suit as big as the Oscars are lengthy.

Traditionally the nominees for best song are performed prior to the award giving. This year most nominees are from Dreamgirls, and the others are associated with Al Gore or Randy Newman. The Academy Awards have long been an awkward forum, slow on the uptake of musical development.

But as always, it will be nice to see the always-certain annual nod of approval from Mr. I-Wear-My-Sunglasses-At-Night Jack Nicholson. Don’t fret – he only looks old. He just had a birthday back when the short subject documentary was presented.

The show itself, probably won’t hold many shockers. Martin Scorsese will likely get his long overdue best director Oscar for “The Departed.” There is not a clear frontrunner for best picture, but there is still plenty to cheer for. Whether you root for that movie about the little yellow bus that could or practice giving your acceptance speech until the music swells, get ready for the thrill of victory and the agony of Meryl Streep. And that’s just in the first few hours.

Academy Award BroadcastThe ceremony airs live from the Kodak Theatre7 p.m. Sunday on ABC.