Fun facts and figures about the Academy Awards:
1. 265 features were eligible for the 2011 Academy Awards.
2. The ceremony is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. EST Sunday on ABC, but the network's pre-show begins at 7 p.m. with Robin Roberts, Tim Gunn, Louise Roe, Jess Cagle and Nina Garcia. In the hour immediately before the ceremony, ABC's "Oscars Red Carpet Live" will be the only broadcast from the red carpet.
3. This list will grow, but here are the scheduled presenters so far: Halle Berry, Rose Byrne, Bradley Cooper, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Michael Douglas, Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich, Ellie Kemper, Jennifer Lopez, Melissa McCarthy, Wendy McLendon-Covey, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Ben Stiller, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Also, Miss Piggy and Kermit.
4. The largest Cirque du Soleil cast ever assembled is slated to present an exclusive performance on Sunday. It will be accompanied by music by Danny Elfman, who scored the music for Cirque du Soleil's "IRIS, A Journey through the World of Cinema." More than 50 international artists from Cirque du Soleil productions around the world will converge in LA for the event.
5. This will be Billy Crystal's ninth time hosting the Oscars. His first was in 1990.
"He's a great improviser, and I'm sure that will be called into play," the show's producer, Gil Cates, has told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
6. If Viola Davis isn't crowned Best Actress, Meryl Streep could go home a three-time Oscar winner. Her nomination for "The Iron Lady" is her 17th overall and 14th for Best Actress.
Her nominations for Best Actress: "The French Lieutenant's Woman," "Sophie's Choice" (for which she won), "Silkwood," "Out of Africa," "Ironweed," "A Cry in the Dark," "Postcards from the Edge," "The Bridges of Madison County," "One True Thing," "Music of the Heart," "The Devil Wears Prada," "Doubt" and "Julie & Julia."
Her supporting nominations were for "The Deer Hunter," "Kramer vs. Kramer," for which she won, and "Adaptation."
7. Hollywood celebrates itself in so many ways, with "The Artist" a love letter to cinema; "Hugo" paying tribute to film pioneer Georges Melies, portrayed by Ben Kingsley; and "My Week With Marilyn," about the making of "The Prince and the Showgirl," featuring Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier, played by Oscar nominees Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh.
In "Midnight in Paris," Owen Wilson plays a hack screenwriter who dreams of better, more literate things, and the documentary short "God Is the Bigger Elvis" is about starlet Dolores Hart, who traded Hollywood for life as a Benedictine nun.
8. When winners express surprise at the heft of the Oscar, they're not kidding. It weighs 8-1/2 pounds and stands 13-1/2 inches high.
9. It's all over but the counting and the shouting.
Final ballots were mailed Feb. 1 to the 5,783 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and they were due back Tuesday. Ballots are being tabulated by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the names of winners placed in sealed envelopes to be opened Sunday.
In 78 years on the job, PwC has counted approximately 450,000 ballots and stuffed 2,600-plus winners' envelopes. It takes 1,700 staff hours every year to count and verify the ballots, with three days needed to count the final ballots.
(Contact movie editor Barbara Vancheri at bvancheri(at)post-gazette.com.)
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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