According to Entertainment Weekly, A-list presenters at this year's Academy Awards will not walk the red carpet before the ceremony begins.
Laurence Mark, producer of this year's ceremony, said, “Why should you know every single presenter and what they're wearing before you even see the show?” For that matter, why should know every single movie they'll focus on in the show?
It's just one aspect of the annual broadcast that's changing this year. Executive producer Bill Condon told the Los Angeles Times , “you have to watch to see what you will get.” And, chances are, you'll have to watch to get your first glimpse of any nominated film.
The secrecy surrounding this year's Academy Award ceremony means only one thing: the Academy is trying to garner interest in a ceremony to honor movies that failed to capture moviegoers' attention.
EW attributed the lack of interest in this year's Oscar race to the fact that “Leo, Clint and Bruce aren't nominated, and with 'Slumdog Millionaire' hogging every prize in sight, the Best Picture race has essentially been over for weeks.” However, writer Dave Karger ignored the fact that not many people have actually seen the movies up for the top prizes of Best Picture and Best Director.
All five Best Picture nominees, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Milk,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Frost/Nixon” and “The Reader” are also up for the Best Director award.
Box office numbers show that the five movies nominated for Best Picture and Director, made a combined $273.2 million. Variety noted  in a Feb. 16 article that unlike most years in which Oscar nominations tend to boost a movie's box office numbers, increased ticket sales eluded this year's crop of Best Picture nominees. Pamela McClintock wrote the “malaise has puzzled studio specialty units and indie producers, who have come to rely on Oscar noms to promote titles that are otherwise difficult sells and expand their reach.”
As comparison, the family-friendly “Prince Caspian” earned on its own over half the amount ($141.6 million) the five Best Picture nominees, combined, earned. The wildly popular “Dark Knight” earned $533.1 alone, nearly double what the five movies all together made. Coincidentally, “National Review” just named  “The Dark Knight” one the of the Best Conservative movies of the past 25 years.
“Milk,” a biopic about the first open homosexual elected to public office, starring Sean Penn, is up for eight nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. Penn received the Screen Actors Gulid's Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role earlier this year for his portrayal of Harvey Milk. He accepted the award by saying:
As actors we don't play gay/straight, we don't play any of these kinds – we we play human beings and this movie is something we're all of us involved, so proud of and I, we are all so appreciative of this acknowledgement. This is a story about equal rights for all human beings.
Later Penn told the Associated Press:
It's very, very important to, to us, I mean, these awards and all of that of course, have a lot to do with the degree things get distributed and people get to see them you know We're in a time where where we're challenged to, to look at equal rights for people here and everywhere, and um, there's been some shameful uh, decisions made lately related to that. And so I think that it's you know, it's a movie that we're all very invested in.
EW gave Penn a 33 percent chance at winning Sunday's Best Actor award because he “has politics on his side,” a reference to the 2008 passage of California's Proposition 8 that prohibits same-sex marriages. If so, viewers will likely hear a diatribe against those who strive to uphold the definition of marriage.
Academy members and the producers of the show have their work cut out for them to attract a large audience this year. It's going to take a lot more than a pretty dress to entice people to watch a production about movies nobody's seen and featuring