On the menu of the Oscars, the famous slap and hands covered with hot dogs

(AFP) – The Oscars will revolve around two big questions on Sunday: a completely crazy comedy, with hot dogs as fingers and an obsession with anal plugs, can it really win the statuette for best picture? And if not, will anyone get another slap?

After the shock caused by Will Smith last year, the Academy created a “crisis team” to prepare for any eventuality. However, this should not prevent some hosts from going there with their little joke to turn the page.

Except thunderclap, the 95th ceremony, presented by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, should therefore focus on the films in competition.

The big favorite is “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a science-fiction-tinged comedy nominated in 11 categories, where an overworked laundromat owner finds herself immersed in a multitude of parallel universes.

Last hope of humanity, this Chinese immigrant played by Michelle Yeoh must face a super-villain who threatens the entire “multiverse”, and turns out to be the exuberant alter ego of her depressed daughter.

The exploration of different worlds then slips into a delirious journey, where some humans have hot dogs in place of fingers, rocks are endowed with emotions and sex toys find unsuspected uses.

This slightly crazy independent film met with great success in theaters, with 100 million dollars in revenue. Its plot, centered on a moving reflection on family love and carried by a brilliant cast, mainly Asian, enabled it to win most of the prizes awarded before the Oscars.

“Behind the film, there is a group of very endearing people, for whom it is impossible not to feel sympathy”, summarizes for AFP Scott Feinberg, specialized columnist for the Hollywood Reporter.

– Actors neck and neck –

The announced triumph could however come up against the voting system for the Oscar for best film, which tends to penalize polarizing works, he recalls. However, many members of the Academy “simply do not understand” the enthusiasm around this comedy produced by a duo of crazy thirty-somethings.

This could benefit the German adaptation of the pacifist novel “In the West, nothing new”, or Tom Cruise’s blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick”, a popular card which has allowed the public to finally reconnect with dark rooms. after the pandemic.

The competition between actors, on the other hand, is much tighter.

“I don’t remember a year (…) where three of the four categories of actors were really quits or doubles,” observes Mr. Feinberg.

The Oscar for best actress is between Cate Blanchett, conductor without mercy in “Tar”, and Michelle Yeoh, the heroine of “Everything Everywhere All At Once”, which could become the first winner of origin Asian to win this award.

For best actor, Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”) and Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) are neck and neck.

Just like Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”), Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”) and Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) for the statuette of the best female supporting role.

Only Ke Huy Quan, former child star of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” forgotten by Hollywood for more than 20 years, seems almost certain to win an Oscar, by dint of accumulating the rewards for his second role of husband endearing in “Everything Everywhere All At Once”.

– Forget “the slap” –

The shadow of the famous slap in the face last year by Will Smith to comedian Chris Rock, after a joke about his wife’s lack of hair, also hovers over this ceremony.

The episode should generate some inevitable banter, but Oscars executive producer Molly McNearney clearly wants closure. “We will recognize the event (…) and move on,” she told reporters.

Last year, the Academy was criticized for letting Mr Smith receive his award for best actor on stage after his attack. He has since been banned from performing for 10 years.

The organizers’ goal is “to provide entertainment and hopefully keep you watching,” producer Glenn Weiss told AFP.

Because despite the rebound in audience figures last year, interest in the Oscars has waned considerably since the heyday of the 1990s. witnessed the triumph of “Titanic”, rewarded with 11 statuettes.

This year, the ceremony is counting on the presence of the sequels to “Top Gun” and “Avatar”, two major blockbusters, to attract attention.

“But if the audience does not increase compared to last year, the Academy will have a big problem”, points out Mr. Feinberg.