Oscars news: Neil Patrick Harris on secrets of hosting, ‘American Sniper’ upset?

Richard Horgan reports, “Gearing up for this weekend’s big show, Neil Patrick Harris, the latest Oscar host told both Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday that he was secretly hoping for a huge, last-minute entertainment scandal to help feed the monologue. Especially since Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, via the Golden Globes, took care of all possible Sony/North Korea angles and, pretty much, Bill Cosby as well.” FishBowlNY

UPDATED: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

Michael Musto writes, “An Oscar is a glorious thing, but once in a while it comes with a big mass of contradictory bad vibes attached. The Oscar certainly didn’t seem to help Nicolas Cage, F. Murray Abraham, Haing S. Ngor, Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Connelly or Dorothy Malone that much. Still, I desperately want one! While I’m campaigning for it, let me run down the 10 saddest cases where the Oscar curse rained on someone’s parade.” The Blot

Sasha Stone explains, “An ‘American Sniper‘ win now would be completely off the charts, stats wise, and a total improbability. The Oscar race isn’t so hard to predict. The only thing that gets in your way is your own heart. The stats really can figure out the race for you. The big guilds decide the race now. That’s just the way it is. But it’s odd the way everyone is talking about the movie and makes me think, with a little more time, ‘Sniper’ could have stolen this whole season. Nowadays, the way the Oscar race goes, you need more time for a controversy to hit then die down before the voting takes place. If ‘Sniper’ had been rolled around in September I think it would have been a force to be reckoned with.” Awards Daily

Mark Bradbury, Senior Director, Insights and Integrated Marketing of AARP Media Sales, observes: “At this year’s Oscars, Boomer and older actors will take center stage, with Julianne Moore and Michael Keaton just some of the 50+ talents who are up for the biggest awards of the year. Hollywood and audiences are witnessing a generation of older talents who are hitting their artistic peaks, drawing upon their personal life experiences and years spent perfecting their crafts. The timing is perfect, as movie audiences are increasingly seeking out stories told with wisdom and depth.” AARP

See Oscar rankings when Experts’ predictions are combined

Jenelle Riley reports, “With Oscar balloting having closed, the female nominees took time out of their busy schedules to attend an intimate luncheon thrown by designer Diane von Furstenberg on Wednesday afternoon. Co-hosted by two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank and Anne Sweeney, the event was held at von Furstenberg’s Beverly Hills home and offered an easygoing respite from the madness of awards season. Greeting attendees as they arrived, von Furstenberg revealed, ‘There are 44 women nominated this year, and 20 are here today.’ Those women included A-listers like Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Rosamund Pike, whose new baby Atom was the only male in the room. But the guest list wasn’t limited to famous faces; von Furstenberg invited every female nominee, from sound editors to documentary short subject directors in a show of female solidarity and camaraderie.” Variety

Kevin Polowy breaks down his Oscar predictions in all 24 categories, beginning with Best Picture, “a two-horse race since the beginning of awards season, with Richard Linklater’s extraordinary coming-of-age opus ‘Boyhood’ and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s captivating showbiz black comedy ‘Birdman’ going head-to-head. We’re now in the 11th hour — voting just closed Tuesday — and while the two are still in heated competition, the match did get a lot more interesting when Birdman recently landed a trifecta of big guild wins, taking top prizes from the PGA, DGA, and SAG. Unsurprisingly, it’s now considered the front-runner, but I’m sticking with the early favorite, ‘Boyhood,’ here, with the idea that the Academy will spread the love around (more on that in the next category).” Yahoo

Kyle Buchanan reflects, “Shortly after the Oscar nominations were announced last month, I made my preliminary picks for who would win, smirking all the while that these early front-runners would surely cruise to their coronation. Perhaps I got too far ahead of myself. Some of those top picks have since faltered, while dark horses and surging contenders have emerged even in the most surprising categories. I’ve got a humble pie cooling on the windowsill, then, as I make this list of my final Oscar predictions: While I’m fairly certain of my picks, I must admit that there are some races that will remain unsettled all the way up until Sunday night.” Vulture

More News from GoldDerby