1. Hosting the Oscars is a thankless job that has defeated many funny, charming performers, but this year’s host, Neil Patrick Harris, has made hosting awards shows into one of his greatest strengths. After his multiple stints hosting the Tonys and the Emmys, Harris is a consummate pro who knows when to make a self-deprecating joke, when to mount a huge musical number and, most importantly, when to get out of the way and let the awards speak for themselves.
2. The Academy’s failure to nominate The Lego Movie for Best Animated Feature is a travesty, but at least the movie’s ridiculously catchy theme song, “Everything Is Awesome,” got a nomination for Best Original Song. The performances of nominated songs are often staid and boring, so it’ll be nice for Tegan and Sara and comedy troupe The Lonely Island to add a bit of goofiness to the show.
3. J.K. Simmons is virtually guaranteed to take the stage as winner of Best Supporting Actor for his role as a sadistic music teacher in Whiplash, and when he does, it will mark the culmination of a decades-long career as one of the best character actors in movies and TV. I expect he’ll give a hell of an acceptance speech.
4. It’s pretty common for an undeserving movie to win Best Picture, but if assumed frontrunner Boyhood takes the top award this year, it will be one of the most deserving winners in a long time. Sometimes it’s a good thing when the Academy does exactly what everyone expects it to do.
5. No matter how many people are highlighted in the annual “In Memoriam” montage of figures in the film industry who died during the previous year, there’s always at least one egregious omission to upset viewers. Who will it be this year? Bob Hoskins (notably left out at the BAFTAs)? Harold Ramis? Joan Rivers?
Academy Awards February 22, 5:30 p.m., ABC.