What to Look Forward to on Oscar Night

Even with the threat of boycott and questions of relevancy, the 88th Academy Awards will be worth checking out this year — if only to see how the show will address these issues.

And with Chris Rock hosting, the show is sure to address them right from the start.

After a slew of stars spoke out about the lack of diversity in Oscar nominees for the second year in a row, Rock scrapped his opening monologue and began rewriting it.

“As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, ‘I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show,'” Oscars producer Reginald Hudlin told “Entertainment Tonight” last month.

“Chris is that thorough,” Hudlin continued. “He’s that brilliant, and I have 1,000-percent confidence that he will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks.”

Hudlin said that Rock, 50, won’t shy away from the controversy either.

“You should expect [Oscars diversity jokes],” Hudlin revealed. “And, yes, the Academy is ready for him to do that. They’re excited about him doing that. They know that’s what we need. They know that’s what the public wants, and we deliver what the people want.”

Rock has already cracked a joke about the Oscars’ diversity issue. Last month, soon after the nominations were announced, he tweeted, “The #Oscars. The White BET Awards.”

Rock’s opening monologue is only one of the things we’re looking forward to Oscar night. Here are four others:

Hudlin and Hill

“Django Unchained” Oscar nominee Hudlin and former “American Idol” executive producer David Hill will helm the awards for the first time this year. Both are capable of putting on a great show. Hudlin, who produced last year’s nontelevised Governors Awards, has been executive producer of the NAACP Awards show since 2012. Hill, who won an Emmy for the 2011 World Series broadcast as former chairman and CEO of Fox Sports Media Group, is a master of live and reality television.

The Speeches

Chris Rock surely won’t be the only person speaking out about diversity at the Oscars. Look for the winners and presenters to get a word or more in as well. Then check out social media, which will looking for the next hashtag like #OscarsSoWhite.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is on fire this year. Last month, she won her first Golden Globe for acting for her starring role in “American Horror Story: Hotel.” Earlier this month, she knocked it out of the park with her performance of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl and her tribute to the late David Bowie at the Grammys. Now, she’s up for an Oscar for the song “Til It Happens to You,” co-written with eight-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren, for the documentary “The Hunting Ground.” Gaga will take the stage solo to perform the song during the telecast.

Sam Smith and The Weeknd

Gaga won’t be the music industry’s only star performing Oscar night. The Weeknd, coming off his Grammy wins, and Sam Smith, who won a Golden Globe last month, will both perform their Oscar nominated songs, “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Writing’s on the Wall” from the Bond film “Spectre,” respectively.

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