Here’s a quick guide to tonight’s broadcast of "The Oscars" — yes, that is now the official name for the 85th annual Academy Awards ceremony (7:30 p.m., ABC/KITV), according to the American Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.
» The host: "Family Guy" creator and "Ted" mastermind Seth MacFarlane does the honors this year. "In general, we’re trying to make this a more ubiquitous Oscars," MacFarlane, a surprising choice, told zap2it. "I think that a lot of times, there’s pressure to keep everything about the movies that are nominated that year. While that is a big part of this, we’re also trying to find ways to broaden it a little bit."
» The presenters: This year’s crop includes Melissa McCarthy, Liam Neeson, Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Aniston, Michael Douglas, Paul Rudd, Jamie Foxx, Sandra Bullock and "Marvel’s The Avengers" cast members Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo.
All the winners of last year’s acting prizes — Jean Dujardin, Christopher Plummer, Octavia Spencer and Meryl Streep — will return as presenters.
» The tributes: A 50th-anniversary salute to the James Bond movies will encompass Adele’s first live rendering of "Skyfall" — a nominee for best song — and Dame Shirley Bassey will croon the classic "Goldfinger."
But a planned reunion of all six actors who have played Agent 007 — Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig — has been scrapped.
Jennifer Hudson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmaybe, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks and Helena Bonham Carter will honor movie musicals of the last decade.
The celebration will highlight "Chicago," "Dreamgirls" and "Les Misérables"; all the participating actors have starred in one of the big-screen adaptations.
» And … : Barbra Streisand will offer her first Oscar performance since her tune "Evergreen" (from "A Star Is Born") won in 1977. "We are honored that she has agreed to do a very special performance," said producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan.
–Andy Edelstein, Newsday