Oscars 2012: Our Biggest Burning Questions

Only time will tell just how many statuettes will ‘The Artist’ take home and whether talking puppets will grace the Oscar stage.
By Kevin P. Sullivan
Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist”
Photo: Weinstein Company In the days leading up to Sunday’s Academy Awards, the night’s six biggest categories have clear favorites. But many of our burning questions remain unanswered. Even without the potential for surprises built into the major races, there’s still plenty left to leave us speechless. Here are our biggest burning questions heading into Oscar night: How big will “The Artist” be?
At this point, few can really doubt that the ode to silent film is going to win, and it’s going to win big. With Best Picture more or less locked for “The Artist,” only one question remains: How many statuettes will it take home? Its star Jean Dujardin is poised to take Best Actor and Michel Hazanavicius should take Best Director, since that award tends to precede Best Picture. But the film has many nominations in technical categories that are still undecided. Will the Muppets surprise?
Soon after Eddie Murphy stepped down as host, an internet campaign gained steam supporting the Muppets hot off their big-screen comeback as replacements. The Academy ultimately went with Billy Crystal for the hosting gig, but a nomination for the song “Man or Muppet” gave fans hope for a big musical number during the ceremony. Alas, neither it nor its sole competitor, “Real in Rio,” will get live performances, but the Muppets could surprise with an appearance bigger than their scheduled presentation. Is “A Separation” a lock for foreign film?
With a screenwriting nomination to its credit, the Iranian film stands far in the lead for Best Foreign Language Film, but bigger upsets have occurred. “The Lives of Others” stole the thunder of Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and “The Secret in Their Eyes” beat out both “A Prophet” and “The White Ribbon.” This could be a favorite that may face a disappointing surprise. Who will end the “In Memoriam” montage?
Based on prestige, the honor goes to Elizabeth Taylor, who died a month after last year’s ceremony. Buzz and tragedy levels say it will go to Whitney Houston. One should not forget Steve Jobs, whose involvement with Pixar certainly qualifies him for a mention, but may be too tangential to be included. It’s a morbid question, but one people genuinely wonder about. How will Billy Crystal do?
As a last minute stand-in for Murphy, the Academy Awards’ second most experience host is getting another shot after eight years away from the gig. But will his usual Oscar routine be enough to hold the audience’s attention after all these years? The day-after assessment of hosts usually amounts to a thumb up or a thumb down, but where Crystal will land after his ninth outing remains to be seen. What burning questions do you have about the Oscars? Let us know in the comments section! The MTV Movies team has the 2012 Oscars covered! Stick with us for everything you need to know leading up to the awards show, and on Sunday, February 26, tune into at 5 p.m. ET for our two-and-a-half-hour red-carpet live stream and updates on the night’s big winners. To join the live conversation, tweet @MTVNews with the hashtag #Oscars.

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