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Ross King: The Oscars are back with a blast… eyes will have it for Jessica, and Will will be King

Ariana DeBose in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story
Ariana DeBose in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story

I love this time of the year. It’s spring, it’s awards season, and you can just smell the fake humility and fake sincerity out there! Not my words, but those of Michael Keaton…and I’m not kidding!

The 94th Academy Awards take place tonight. But with last year’s viewing figures at an all-time low (just 10.4 million tuned in), organisers are under pressure to make the ceremony relevant again.

The Oscars hasn’t had a host since 2018 but this year it has three. Comedy powerhouses Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall will take the reins – and it sounds like the A-list audience should brace themselves for a roasting.

“I’m going to get myself in some trouble,” Schumer said earlier this month. “Wanda and Regina are hilarious, and we’re having a blast preparing.”

Regina added: “We’re really excited to celebrate film and make fun of people, too. Anything that’s said or done, it’s all in fun.”

It’s not an easy gig. Just ask James Franco and Anne Hathaway whose co-hosting stint at the 2011 Oscars was described by one critic as like watching “the world’s most uncomfortable blind date between the cool rocker stoner kid and the adorable theatre camp cheerleader.” Ouch.

Sadly, I don’t think there are going to be many British winners this year.

For a while it was quite a hard race to predict but after all the campaigns and previous awards, this is how I think it’ll go…

Jessica Chastain will win best actress for her sensational turn in The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, while Ariana DeBose should pick up best supporting actress for Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story. Forget Oor Wullie, it’ll be Big Willy’s night. I reckon Will Smith will win his first Oscar for his superb performance as Venus and Serena Williams’ father in King Richard.

It’s shame that Denzel Washington probably won’t win for his leading role in The Tragedy Of Macbeth as we could have claimed it for Scotland!

I really hope Sir Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, or Coda, a coming-of-age movie about the daughter of deaf parents, wins best bovie. Most certainly Troy Kotsur will bag best supporting actor for Coda but I think the movie may get pipped by The Power Of The Dog.

Jane Campion is a shoo-in for best director for the gothic cowboy movie which stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who is up for best actor.

There may be some consolation for Sir Kenneth who I think will claim the best original screenplay award for his semi-biographical story.

Whoever wins, it’ll be great to see Hollywood bounce back from the pandemic. Last year’s ceremony was a subdued affair, after a year that saw few major film releases.

I’m looking forward to getting back on the red carpet and taking a spin round the parties.

Then it’s off for my traditional lobster pizza and a cuppa…bubbles. Cheers!