Here come the Oscars!

x700We’re reaching the mid-way point of February, which means everyone’s favourite night of self-congratulatory Hollywood glamour is fast approaching. You guessed it, the Oscars are coming. The 87th Academy Awards will be lighting up the small screen on February 22nd to celebrate the best in films to hit the silver screen in the past year. Whether you’re an awards show virgin or a seasoned Oscar viewer, we’re here to be your guide to the movie industry’s biggest night.

What to expect:

A fabulous opening number from host Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris is most famous for his popular role in the TV sitcom How I Met Your Mother, but he is also an experienced awards show host, having hosted four Tony Awards and two Primetime Emmy Awards among others. The common theme between all of those? He opened the night with a fabulous song and dance number. Harris is no stranger to the Oscars stage either- he opened the 2010 Academy Awards with a flashy musical piece. Check it out here if you want a preview.

Magic!

Something else you may not have known about Neil Patrick Harris is that he’s a bona fide magician. His character on HIMYM was known to show off the occasional magic trick, but in real life Harris was once President of the Board of Directors of the Magic Castle. He’s been known to break out some serious illusion skills while hosting awards shows (at the 2013 Tony Awards he disappeared and reappeared across the theatre!) so be sure to watch him closely this Sunday for any tricks.

Lots of music performances throughout

Although there only two music awards given out at the Oscars (for Original Score and Original Song) the producers of this year’s telecast are spicing things up with plenty of live music. Prepare to see some big names- most notably international superstar Lady Gaga, who has been slated to give a tribute performance, and Maroon 5 who will be performing an Oscar nominated song. Oscar and Grammy winning performer Jennifer Hudson will also be singing, as well as Anna Kendrick, who you’ll recognize from movie musicals Pitch Perfect and Into the Woods. Be sure to also look out for Canadian duo Tegan and Sara, who will be performing with the musical-comedy group The Lonely Island.

READ MORE: Didn’t get a chance to see all 8 ‘Best Picture’ nominees? Check out our guide!

Some star-studded presenters

The list of famous people who will be taking to the stage to hand out statues goes on and on. Some notable stars? Last year’s best actors and actresses Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Cate Blanchett and Lupita Nyong’o will be giving out awards to their winning counterparts. Many more big names will be taking to the stage to present, including Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston Chris Pratt, Chris Pine, Octavia Spencer, Dakota Johnson, Jennifer Lopez, Idris Elba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Channing Tatum, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, John Travolta, Liam Neeson and many, many more. Keep and eye out for your favourite.

Very little diversity

It didn’t go unnoticed by many that all 20 nominees in acting categories this year are glaringly white. A notable snub was David Oyelowo, the African-American 846xactor who portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. in the best picture nominated film Selma. Selma’s director Ava DuVernay, who is a female person of colour, also was not nominated for best director. With very few non-Caucasian nominees, this has colloquially been dubbed one of the whitest Oscars in 20 years, leading many to question the Academy’s commitment to diversity.

A Boyhood sweep

Boyhood posterThere is little doubt that Richard Linklater’s 12-year passion project Boyhood has been the critic’s darling this awards show season. The coming-of-age epic has been nominated for 6 Oscars, for best picture, actor, actress, directing, film editing and writing. Boyhood has already picked up three Golden Globes to sit alongside many tens of other awards, and a number of media experts have suggested that the film’s winning streak will continue at the Academy Awards. This is the one to watch.

Dresses galore

As always, the outfits at the Academy Awards tend to draw more attention than the films themselves. Don’t miss a minute of the fashion hits and misses by tuning in early to catch all the red carpet action.

No matter who wins, the Oscars are a night of cinematic pageantry like no other. Now that you know what to expect grab some friends, a bottle of champagne (or ten) and prepare to take in the big night – Hollywood North style.