Oscars 2013 date, time, TV channel, preview and more!

Oscars 2013 date, time, TV channel, preview and more, with host Seth MacFarlane!

Seth MacFarlane hosts the 85th Annual Academy Awards on ABCThe 85th Annual Academy Awards
Sunday, Feb. 24
ABC, 7pm ET; Red Carpet coverage on E! starting at 5:30pm ET
Family Guy funnyman Seth MacFarlane hosts this year’s Oscar ceremony, striking fear in the hearts of traditionalists that he’ll turn Hollywood’s biggest night into an endless parade of self-promotion and TV-MA-rated buffoonery. But MacFarlane has promised to adapt his shtick to the appropriate level, which probably means somewhere between the comfort food of Billy Crystal and the awkward embarrassment of David Letterman. But hey, as long as he’s not as crashingly dull as James Franco, viewers should count themselves lucky.

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Who’s the favorite to win Best Picture? Right this second, probably Argo, despite (or maybe because of) Ben Affleck’s snub in Best Director. That being said, only three times has a film won Best Picture without getting a Best Director nomination, the last one being in 1990 with Driving Miss Daisy. (The others were Wings in 1929, the Oscars’ first year, and Grand Hotel in 1932.) Same strike against another would-be contender, Zero Dark Thirty, for which Kathryn Bigelow was thought to be a shoo-in before getting shunned. Plus, that whole pro-torture controversy probably doesn’t bode well for Oscar gold. So, playing the odds, the smart money could be with Steven Spielberg and Lincoln. My personal dark horse: Silver Linings Playbook. I’m not advocating that, mind you, just saying it’s been gaining momentum. But if that were to happen, it would probably instantly join Crash and Marisa Tomei as the big Oscar winners people love to rip on for years afterward.

Who are the big performers/presenters? The cast of Chicago (Remember how that won Best Picture back in 2003?) will reunite on stage. For those who need a memory jog, that means Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger and Queen Latifah. Shirley Bassey will perform at the ceremony for the first time, presumably for a James Bond celebration. Adele will be there, too, hopefully taking home a Best Song statue for her theme to Skyfall.

Who will be left out during the “In Memoriam” tribute? Every year someone, or many someones, get skipped over in the annual montage of film-industry figures who died in the past year. (Remember the brouhaha over Farrah Fawcett being left out in 2010?) There have been plenty of notable deaths since the last ceremony, so rest assured that someone’s exclusion will lead to outrage. One would hope Michael Clarke Duncan would be on there. The man was nominated for The Green Mile, after all. And you’ve gotta think folks like Ernest Borgnine, Tony Scott and Charles Durning will get the nod. But what about Jack Klugman? He was known more for TV roles, and the Academy has been known to be prickly about such distinctions.

Battle for the ages: The Best Actress field features the youngest nominee ever, 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and the oldest, 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva (Amour). But the winds seem to be favoring Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook.

Been there, done that: The Best Supporting Actor field is ridiculously stacked, with every contender having already taken home at least one Oscar. Just listen to the names: Tommy Lee Jones, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christoph Waltz and Alan Arkin. Of course, Waltz is the only one never to have lost.

Biggest shoo-ins of the night: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) for Best Actor, and Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) for Best Supporting Actress. Right? Oh, and probably Adele for Skyfall.

Photo: © 2013 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. Credit: Bob D’Amico

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