LOS ANGELES – In the last official briefing before the big show, Oscar producer Gil Cates, director Lou Horvitz and Academy president Sid Ganis promised no political uproar — and no rain — at the Academy Awards on Sunday.
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Sitting along the red carpet outside the Kodak Theatre Friday, beneath a clear plastic rain tent, the Oscar honchos said they expect a sunny Sunday and a show punctuated by surprises, planned and unplanned.
"It's the really unexpected things that we're all conditioned to wait for that makes the show such a joy to watch," Cates said, recalling Jack Palance's one-armed push-ups in 1991, "when we all thought he had a stroke and couldn't imagine what was going on."
The rain tent will be removed Saturday, Cates said, while rehearsals continue inside the Kodak Theatre.
Among the planned "surprises" are musical production numbers featuring Dolly Parton, Kathleen "Bird" York and hip-hop outfit Three 6 Mafia, plus comedy sketches powered by major stars.
Though host Jon Stewart is known for his political comedy on "The Daily Show" and many of the nominated films have political themes, the Academy Awards show isn't about politics, it's about "rewarding excellence" and reflecting the times, Cates said.
But if any Oscar winners want to make political statements during their acceptance speeches, that's fine too.
"It's their 40 seconds," Cates said.
The Oscar crew is prepared for anything Sunday, Horvitz said, even a rumored streaker.
"If it's going to happen on the stage, we're going to cover it the appropriate way," he said.
Cates said there would be no limit on gay cowboy jokes, for or against.
However, Ganis joked: "It's a three-and-a-half hour show, so 167 is the quota."