Maria Puente, USA TODAY
Naturally, Americans eagerly await the outcome of the Oscar best-picture race, which will be dramatically revealed Sunday.
But some of us are not so high-minded: We can't wait to see who's going to come undone - in tears, in shock, in bliss or (maybe best of all) in the wardrobe department.
For many viewers the annual Oscars telecast (ABC, Sunday, 7 p.m. ET/4 PT) is a much-anticipated feast of head-slapping Hollywood hilarity. He saidwhat? She worewhat? He came withwho?
With that in mind, we present the 20 questions our inquiring minds want to know ahead of the 85th Academy Awards.
1. Who's next for a wardrobe malfunction?
You can bet the network censors are thinking the same thing, now that we've been treated (at earlier awards events) to way too much talk about boob windows and nip slips. Still, we are almost sure that neither Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables) nor Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), both nominees, will be guilty in this department, since they've already had their dress issues this awards season. Getting out of her car at aLes Mispremiere, Hathaway inadvertently revealed that she forgot to wear knickers, gleefully captured by paparazzi. Oops. At the SAG Awards, Lawrence's dress appeared to rip away at her thighs when she stood to accept her award. Wardrobe malfunction! But it wasn't really: Structured in tiers, the dress was meant to be sheer in that spot, although Lawrence admitted that it came as a surprise to her.
2. Will the stars dress to impress the censors?
Attendees at the Grammys last week were sternly warned against showing too much flesh: "Thong-type costumes" and "bare sides or under curvature of the breasts" were banned, as were "visible buttock curves" or "buttock crack," along with "sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples." (Who broke the rules? Katy Perry's breasts looming from a boob window.) Will finger-wagging for the Oscars merely egg them on to subtract more? Doubtful, but we're counting on numerous jokes being told.
3. Whose long, naked leg will go viral?
Seems as if there has been an Angelina Jolie leg-slit dress on every red carpet this season, including Jennifer Lopez's at the Grammys and Eva Longoria's at the Golden Globes. Last year, Brad Pitt's fiancée thrust her delectable right limb out from her dress, and within minutes, it got its own Twitter account, @ajoliesrightleg.
4. Will there be a lip-sync diva of the night?
For the first time in 36 years at the Oscars, Barbra Streisand will be singing, even though she has suffered from stage fright in the past and doesn't sing in public very often. Still, we are betting she will belt it live. Take note ... well, everyone.
5. Who will Bradley Cooper bring as his date?
Inquiring female minds want to know who will accompany the cutie-pie best-actor nominee (Silver Linings Playbook). Looks as if he and Zoe Saldana are no longer a couple, but his former sweetie, Renee Zellweger, will be there as a presenter, so they could bump into each other. She has moved on to musician (and Sheryl Crow's ex) Doyle Bramhall II, but whom has Cooper moved on to?
6. What will Anne Hathaway's hair look like this time?
Her pixie cut, which is still growing out from her role as doomed Fantine inLes Misérables, has turned out to be surprisingly versatile. She has slicked it back, combed it over, tousled it, worn it shaggy, spiked it up, parted it and pinned it back. There seems to be nothing she can't do with that cut - except pull it up into a ponytail.
7. Will this be the year of short cuts?
Oscar winner Charlize Theron will premiere her new 'do - a buzz cut - as a presenter. Besides Hathaway, Halle Berry (also a presenter) promises to rock a short 'do.
8. Speaking of pixies, which puppy will Quvenzhané Wallis have on her arm?
The best-actress nominee (Beasts of the Southern Wild) has a clutch of pup clutches made by Poochie and Co., which is reported by Yahoo to be custom-making one to match her dress for Oscar night. She says the cuddly puppy purses are her "signature." Hey, she's only 9!
9. Will Joaquin Phoenix show up?
You never know with that guy, who is nominated for best actor inThe Master. His distaste for the required groveling of Oscar campaigning is mounting; he might even pull a Marlon Brando. Phoenix didn't do himself much good by likening awards-season campaigning to bull you-know-what. "I don't want to be part of it. I don't believe in it," he toldThe Hollywood Reporter. But hedidshow up for the Golden Globes.
10. Will Sacha Baron Cohen pull another prank this year?
That Brit just loves to annoy. He played Thenardier inLes Misérables, which is up for eight Oscars, including best film, so chances are high that he'll be there. Last year, he dressed as The Dictator and carried an urn, whose contents (which looked like flour) were dumped on E! host Ryan Seacrest, who was wearing Armani and doing a live interview on the red carpet.
11. Will Wu woo the nominees?
Thanks to first lady Michelle Obama, Jason Wu is the Cinderella designer of the 2009and2013 inaugurations. So who's going to wear Wu to the Oscars?
12. Will Tommy Lee Jones smile?
He's a best-supporting-actor nominee (Lincoln), with a face like an old boot and a grimace for a smile. But even that is better than the surly mug he pulled for the cameras at the Golden Globes, which immediately went viral as a meme.
13. How will the James Bond tribute wow?
Sure, the awards-festooned Adele will perform her nominated theme song forSkyfall, but can the segment outdo the jaw-dropping Olympics opening ceremony bit that featured Daniel Craig and a parachuting Queen Elizabeth II?
14. Who will Seth McFarlane come as?
The comedian/animator/writer/director/producer and creator ofFamily GuyandAmerican Dadis hosting for the first time, with high anticipation. How many times will he lapse into Stewie or Peter Griffin?
15. Who will be bold?
Please, please, someone go bold by showcasing a fresh or unexpected designer. Mrs. Obama did it with Thom Browne, formerly known for menswear, at the inauguration last month, but surely one of the celebs or their stylists can muster some gumption to do the same.
16. What will Harry Potter do at the Oscars now that his invisibility cloak is off?
Daniel Radcliffe, who played the boy wizard in the eight-film fantasy franchise, will star in a special segment, marking his first appearance at the show. HisPotterfilms dominated the box office from 2001 to 2011 and were nominated 12 times but never won an Oscar.
17. Whose baby bump will draw all eyes?
No, not the royal baby bump. We're talking about Mrs. Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, who is accompanying her husband, a presenter. Her stylist, Brad Goreski, promises she'll look plenty sexy and pregnant.
18. Doesn't Robin Roberts look great?
TheGood Morning Americahost, who was off for months battling cancer and now rocking her own svelte short cut, is back in the action, added as a pre-show host on the red carpet.
19. Can the academy surprise us?
It's only Monday, so surely the academy will announce more presenters and special guests. What about Brangelina? What are the Oscars without those guys? They just announced that their first wine from their French winery/estate, a pink rosé called Miraval, will come out in the USA on March 15, so don't they need the publicity?
20. Will Ben Affleck have the final word?
He's been picking up best-director awards everywhere else forArgobut got shut out of that category at the Oscars. Still,Argois one of nine best-picture nominees, and as producer, he could be the last winner of the evening. If so, that'll be one heck of an acceptance speech.
Contributing: Olivia Barker, Lorena Blas, Donna Freydkin, Elysa Gardner, Andrea Mandell, Alison Maxwell, Ann Oldenburg and Arienne Thompson