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Star Movies adds half an hour of pre-show to Oscars coverage

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MUMBAI: The biggest awards show in the entertainment industry the 78th annual Academy Awards takes place early in the morning on 6 March. Star Movies will add half an hour of pre show coverage to the event.

The action kicks off early Monday morning at 5:30 am. The channel will have its representatives on the red carpet for an hour getting sound bytes from the nominees as they walk the red carpet while fans scream themselves hoarse. There will also be a behind the scenes look at what it takes to put together an event of this magnitude.

Then the official Academy countdown happens at 6:30 am where US broadcaster ABC's anchors talk to the stars. The main show kicks off at 7 am with host Jon Stewart. It should finish by 11 am. There will be a repeat at 8 pm.

The big concern for the Academy though is that none of the Best Picture nominees benefitted after their list was made public. The weekend after the nominations had been announced Munich's box office dropped a massive 53 per cent. The other nominees including favourite Brokeback Mountain and Capote had drops of at least 29 per cent.

What this means is that there is not much interest in movies that have been nominated. Generally viewership for the Academy Awards is good if the films in question do well at the box office. Ratings were strong when blockbusters like Titanic and The Lord Of the Rings triumphed. The films nominated for the main awards including picture, the acting categories and script are all niche and serious apart from Walk The Line and Pride And Prejudice.

The other unknown factor is Jon Stewart. Stewart's satirical style works well for his news show The Daily Show. For the Oscars though he will need to tone down at least to some extent. The best hosts are those like Billy Crystal who work within Hollywood and who are in awe of it just like the viewers.

As far as who will win is concerned the gay western Brokeback Mountain should win for best picture. While the explosive drama about racism in Los Angeles Crash has fans, it is not likely to cause an upset. If it does then it will be the biggest upset in the history of the Academy Awards. Brokeback Mountain's director Ang Lee who failed to win five years ago for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon will not go empty handed this time around.

Best Actor should go to Phillip Seymour Hoffman whose portrayal of writer Truman Capote needs to be seen to be believed. Reese Witherspoon should win for Best Actress playing country singer June Carter who married country music legend Johnny Cash.

Rachel Weiz who proved that she has the acting chops to match her looks in The Constant Gardener is the favourite in the supporting actress category. Reacting to her nomination she said, "My journey with 'The Constant Gardener' has been an extraordinary and rewarding one, made possible by a great director, Fernando Meirelles, and a brilliant leading man, Ralph Fiennes. And now to be an Academy Award nominee, is the greatest honour for me. I am deeply grateful to the members of the Academy for my nomination."

George Clooney has been nominated three times. He co-wrote the script for Best Picture nominee Good Night And Good Luck which is about how news anchor Edward Murrow took on Senator McCarthy in the 1950s when he was on his communist witchhunt. However if Clooney wins for anything it will be for his portrayal of a CIA agent in Syriana, which is about America's thirst for oil in the Middle East.

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