STARS on Oscar’s red carpet tonight might not be in black but Hollywood’s sexual harassment scandal is certain to dominate the movie industry’s big night.
Academy bosses have urged guests to celebrate the movies and not focus on the raging debate provoked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal as the awards mark their 90th anniversary.
At the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, many actresses wore black to signal support for the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns against sexual harassment.
But it’s likely there will be a different look on the red carpet at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood where the big stars will include Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan and Meryl Streep.
It’s thought celebrities have been briefed that black needn’t be the colour of the night, but it would be appreciated if they wore a Time’s Up lapel pin.
“We certainly want to honour and respect Time’s Up and allow that message to be heard,” said Channing Dungey, of US broadcaster ABC who are televising the Academy Awards.
“But we’re trying to make it more planned than spur of the moment — so it doesn’t overshadow the artists and films being honoured.”
It was unclear yesterday if any co-ordinated sartorial protest would take place but most sources suggested there would not be a repeat of the black-out on the red carpet.
Stars are likely to wear badges and white roses to show support for the campaign, however.
The winners’ speeches are also likely to be peppered with support for women in the industry.
LA-based showbiz reporter and Sunday Post columnist, Ross King said: “The Golden Globes was the place where statements were made, so the organisers certainly want the Oscars to be more of a celebration.
“There are new people being named every other day for sexual harassment cases so it is still a very raw topic out here.”
The ceremony will be hosted for the second year by US chat show host Jimmy Kimmel, known for his strong political stance.
Kimmel said there would be no jokes about #MeToo but promised, otherwise, no one would be safe.
Frances McDormand won a Bafta last month for her role in Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri and is tipped to repeat her victory tonight.
Gary Oldman is similarly odds-on favourite to pick up Best Actor for his portrayal of Sir Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
Three Billboards’ closest rival for Best Film is expected to be The Shape of Water.
Meanwhile Scots broadcaster Shereen Nanjiani will be hoping for some family success.
Her second cousin, American comedian and filmmaker Kumail Nanjiani, is up for Best Original Screenplay for his film The Big Sick.
Stars retreat to Swiss chalet
Ross King says the biggest concern of show bosses isn’t what the red carpet stars are wearing but that the walkway itself is never empty.
“Most people know there are “seat fillers” so that when a big star pops out to the loo an “extra” sits in their place,” said Ross. “But not many know there are carpet fillers.
“To make the red carpet always look busy, people are employed to look like stars and constantly walk it. When they get to the end they don’t go into the Dolby Theatre, they just nip round the back and down to the front of the carpet again.”
This year’s backstage green room is designed to look like a Swiss chalet as it’s sponsored by Rolex. And while the stars won’t be getting a free watch, they’ll still be leaving laden with loot.
The unofficial goodie bags for nominees, put together by Distinctive Assets, are valued at £100,000.
They include free holidays to Tanzania, Hawaii and Greece as well as well as a diamond necklace and a £7500 donation for an animal shelter of their choice.
The organisers were left red-faced last year when La La Land was wrongly named as Best Picture by presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty.
Now accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, who were responsible, have introduced a rigorous new procedure to stop any excruciating repetition.
Three in shape for top award
Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri could be battling it out with The Shape of Water to lift the biggest award of the night, Best Picture.
If The Shape of Water does miss out, consolation is likely to come with Guillermo del Toro getting Best Director.
But Three Billboards’ Frances McDormand is the hottest of tips to repeat her Baftas and Golden Globes triumphs by winning Best Actress.
Sam Rockwell, from Three Billboards, and Willem Dafoe in The Florida Project may fight it out for Best Supporting Actor.
But the nod for Best Supporting Actress is most likely to go to Allison Janney for her mesmerisingly repellent role as the mother of controversial figure skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya.
Meanwhile, the endless hours of being fitted into a fat suit to play Winston Churchill are expected to pay off for Brit Gary Oldman.
His captivating performance in Darkest Hour is likely to be recognised with the Best Actor Oscar.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe