Oscar Talk

Film awards season comes to a close this week with The Oscars (8:30 p.m. Sunday, ABC). Chris Rock returns to host the 88th Academy Awards celebration — he first took the gig in 2005.

click to enlarge Chris Rock hosts the Oscars Sunday.
Chris Rock hosts the Oscars Sunday.

Film awards season comes to a close this week with The Oscars (8:30 p.m. Sunday, ABC). Chris Rock returns to host the 88th Academy Awards celebration — he first took the gig in 2005. Leading in nominations are The Revenant (with 12 nominations), Mad Max: Fury Road (10), The Martian (seven), Carol, Spotlight and Bridge of Spies (six each). But here’s what people will be paying attention to:

Talk of protests, boycotts and general pushback over the lack of diversity among nominees has surrounded much of the Oscar buzz this year. There are no people of color represented in any of the acting categories again — 2015’s categories featured only white actors — with very few minority nominees overall. It will definitely be interesting to see how Rock addresses the issue with his signature humor.

Acceptance speeches might be a little more exciting this year. All nominees will submit a list of people they wish to thank, which will scroll onscreen when the winner accepts the award, giving awardees 45 seconds to actually speak on their work rather than rattling off names. Expect more emotional revelations and passionate calls to action.

Best Original Song nominees The Weeknd, Sam Smith and Lady Gaga (can we say overkill) are all set to perform, along with Dave Grohl.

And, of course, there’s Leonardo DiCaprio’s possible first-time Oscar — a topic that resurfaces every couple years, as if he gets zero recognition and doesn’t have a lifetime of potential wins ahead of him.

WEDNESDAY 24

Broad City (10 p.m., Comedy Central) — Abbi becomes Ilana.

MTV Suspect (Series Premiere, 11 p.m., MTV) – Nev Schulman of Catfish — which debuts its sixth season prior to this at 10 p.m. — puts his professional investigation skills (aka reverse Google image search) to work in this new series dedicated to uncovering secrets. But instead of looking up dirt on a potential catfish, Nev and cohost iO Tillett Wright help people who believe a loved one is hiding something — from drug use to illness.

THURSDAY 25

Idiotsitter (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Gene throws a GED prom, inviting her cyber bully with the hopes of real-life bullying him.

FRIDAY 26

Fuller House (Series Premiere, Netflix) – Whatever happened to predictability? Why, it’s right here in the latest ’90s spinoff vying to cash in on Millennial nostalgia. And besides Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (who played Michelle in their onscreen debut), the main cast members reprise their roles: Recently widowed, D.J. moves into her childhood San Francisco home with sister Stephanie and best friend Kimmy — basically the original show’s premise for Danny, Jesse and Joey. (They’re here, too.) Chip-a-dee-ba-ba-dow!

SATURDAY 27

Film Independent Spirit Awards

(10 p.m., IFC) – Silicon Valley ’s Kumail Nanjiani and Saturday Night Live ’s Kate McKinnon host this traditionally booze-soaked celebration of independent film. If you find the Oscars a little too predictable, narrow-minded or white, this is a good alternative.  

SUNDAY 28

The Walking Dead (9 p.m., AMC) – Richonne!

Girls (10 p.m., HBO) – Fran moves in with Hannah; Hannah’s dad has a gaymergency; Ray worries a new hip café, Helvetica (squee!), is hurting his business.

MONDAY 29

Better Call Saul (10 p.m., AMC) – Jimmy flexes his showmanship, succeeding in client outreach while Mike’s daughter-in-law expresses concern.


CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected], @jackern