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From sausage fingers to severed fingers and with oddball indies in contention alongside billion-pound blockbusters, Hollywood’s big night is here and this year there are cinematic treats catering to pretty much everyone’s tastes.
While more box office hits like Avatar and Top Gun have made the shortlist than usual, they aren’t the ones everyone’s talking about on the sand-coloured carpet in rainy Los Angeles.
Instead, Ireland’s hopes rest with a twisted take on the break-up of a male friendship.
The brilliant The Banshees Of Inisherin reunites two of cinema’s finest in Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, and looks strong with its nine nominations.
Not that filmmaker Martin McDonagh is too bothered.
“I’m bad at public speaking, so I’m kind of half happy when we lose so I don’t have to go up there,” he told Sky News earlier this awards season.
“But no, it’s better to be in the mix than not to be in the mix.
“So it’s weirdly both exciting and scary at the same time.”
It’s a year for first-timers with 16 of the 20 acting contenders having never been Oscar nominated before – including Ireland’s Paul Mescal and Britain’s Bill Nighy – with the latter embracing the stiff upper lip stereotype.
“I think it probably is regrettable and psychiatrists would probably say its deeply unhealthy,” Nighy said.
“But there’s also something kind of heroic about it and it’s funny that you weren’t allowed to express anything really.”
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As for his chances though? Critics claim it’s a “Butler vs Brendan” showdown.
Both gave transformative performances, with Austin Butler impressing as the king in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis, while Brendan Fraser is back after a spell away and has been visibly emotional at the strong reception he has received for his part in The Whale.
“The award stuff, it’s new to me, but we’re all frothy and happy and giddy and happy for this, with fingers crossed and best fondest hopes for success,” Fraser told Sky News.
“But who knows what the result is going to be.
“But I’m confident – I think that we’ve got a shot at making it to the finish line.”
Angela Bassett is the one to beat in the supporting actress category, where she could well provide Marvel’s first acting win for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
But Jamie Lee Curtis just might pip her to the prize on Sunday for her part in Everything Everywhere All At Once.
And whether Michelle Yeoh can beat Cate Blanchett for best actress is a tough call, as it seems written in the stars – an awards prophecy if you like – that Blanchett’s Academy Award-winning films are released every nine years – she won for The Aviator in 2004 and Blue Jasmine in 2013 – so Tar (released last year) will probably deliver her a third.
And Ke Huy Quan, a supporting actor nominee who those of a certain age will remember from The Goonies, says he’s winning regardless.
Quan, who is nominated for his part in Everything Everywhere All At Once, told Sky News: “Honestly, when I did this movie, when I decided to get back into acting, I didn’t think any of this was possible.
“I just wanted a job. I just wanted to be in front of the camera again.
“All these nominations are so, so great. It’s already a win for me.”
When it comes to the big prize, don’t rule out All Quiet On The Western Front causing a noisy upset for best picture – after all, that’s what happened at this year’s BAFTAs.
But the film to keep your eye on is Everything Everywhere All At Once – the unlikely indie and multiverse-jumping sci-fi hit leading the pack with 11 nominations.
And if it doesn’t end up dominating the night, fans can take comfort that out there in another dimension, it will most definitely take home every award, somewhere at multiple times.
You can watch the Academy Awards on Sunday 12 March from 11pm exclusively on Sky News and Sky Showcase. And for everything you need to know ahead of the ceremony, don’t miss our special Backstage podcast, out now, plus look out for our special episode on the winners from Monday morning.
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