5 Things to Watch for on Oscar Night

02/27/2011 at 02:55 PM EST

Oscars - 5 Things to Watch for at the Show
James Franco and Natalie Portman
Matt Carr/Getty; B. Ach/INF
Place your bets in the Oscar pool, nuke the popcorn and break out the bubbly – it's time again when the world's biggest names vie for acting accolades and fashion-plate plaudits.

So what will get people talking at Sunday's 83rd annual Academy Awards? Here are a few tips on what to watch for when the show airs on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. (Join our live blog that night on PEOPLE.com!)

1. The Hosts!
While the Academy is likely to be safe from a Ricky Gervais-esque controversy, there will be scrutiny on the surprise pairing of relative youngsters James Franco, 32, and Anne Hathaway, 28, who are co-hosting the main event. In addition to the promised singing and dancing, fans might expect quite a sight when it comes to how (or if!) 127 Hours Best Franco holds himself together should he win – or lose. Then, how will he get back to hosting?

2. An Expansive Natalie Portman
A glowingly pregnant Portman continues to grow right along with her trophy collection, which includes a Golden Globe in January. But will the mom-to-be take the granddaddy of them all, a Best Actress Oscar for Black Swan? And how will fashion designers come up with new ways of showcasing her burgeoning baby bump?



3. The U.K. vs. the U.S.A.
Colin Firth's royal vehicle, The King's Speech, leads the field with 12 nods, while the Coen Brothers Western starring Jeff Bridges, True Grit, has 10. The British flick, Firth in particular, has been running away with awards so far this season. But for Hollywood's biggest night, will it be Cool Britannia or the American Way that claims the most statuettes?

4. The Fashion, Of Course
Judging by the hottest trends at the Golden Globes this year, stars' choices will be hard to predict. From floral detail to shocking red to long sleeves to black fishtail dresses, celebs have a lot to choose from. And we have to wonder: What will fashion risk-taker (and King's Speech nominee) Helena Bonham Carter show up wearing? What about young Hailee Steinfeld, or classically minded Nicole Kidman? Visit People.com on Oscar night for all the fashion highlights.

5. Oscar Virgins
As usual, there's a healthy dose of Oscar veterans in the mix this year, but there's also a fertile crop of newbies who've earned their way into the spotlight. In addition to Franco, there's the soft-spoken erstwhile character actor John Hawkes, nominated for a jarring performance in Winter's Bone; the young Hailee Steinfeld, only 14 and up for True Grit; and the modest Social Network nominee Jesse Eisenberg. Just how will these freshmen (and women) mesh with Hollywood's seasoned legends?

The 83rd annual Academy Awards will air live Sunday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on ABC from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre



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