Gold Standard: Five things to watch for at tonight’s Oscars, including a ‘Titanic’ reunion and lots of Chris Rock

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet earlier this year at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet earlier this year at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

(Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

The 88th Academy Awards will be broadcast later today at 5:30 p.m. Pacific. Chris Rock will host. Lady Gaga, the Weeknd and Sam Smith will sing their Oscar-nominated songs. And, when it’s all said and done, people can finally retire their Leonardo DiCaprio Oscar-snub memes.

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Here are five things to watch for at this year’s ceremony.

WWCD (What Will Chris Do)?

The Times’ Greg Braxton asked that question about Oscars ceremony host Chris Rock who, he wrote, has a delicate mission in this year of #OscarsSoWhite, needing to “address the controversy with the right tone but still stay focused on maintaining the spirit of the evening, which is to honor the best film achievements of the year.”


Rock hasn’t given any interviews leading up to the show, so his opening monologue figures to provide one of the night’s must-see moments. What will he do? And how far will he go? We’ll know a few minutes into the telecast -- even sooner if he enters the Dolby Theatre accompanied by the walk-on song we hear is going to be playing.

Will the Oscars host a “Titanic” reunion?

This awards season has been a boon for those still shipping Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio a good 19 years after they starred together in “Titanic.” The pair each won Golden Globes in January and then repeated their victories earlier this month at the British film academy awards.

And, along the way, they cleared up one important point for those whose hearts could not go on after seeing DiCaprio’s Jack sink into the icy Atlantic. He did not have to die! (Thanks for nothing, Rose.)

Watch Q&As with the ‘The Revenant’ cast and crew

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Video: 'The Revenant': Limited shooting hours

'The Revenant': Attraction of the story On Now

'The Revenant': Attraction of the story

'The Revenant': Know what you're getting into On Now

Video: 'The Revenant': Know what you're getting into

'The Revenant': Knowing a character's future On Now

'The Revenant': Knowing a character's future

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'The Revenant': Conditions affect performance

'The Revenant': The bear scene On Now

Video: 'The Revenant': The bear scene

'The Revenant': Agility of the story On Now

'The Revenant': Agility of the story

Could DiCaprio, the overwhelming favorite to win the lead actor Oscar for his turn as the suffering frontiersman in “The Revenant,” and Winslet both leave the Academy Awards ceremony carrying trophies? It will likely come down to whether voters appreciate Winslet’s performance as the truth-telling marketing guru in “Steve Jobs” enough to give her the supporting actress Oscar over the category’s front-runner, Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”).

We’ll know early on if we’re in for another “Titantic” reunion as supporting actress is always one of the first awards presented. We’re pretty sure the camera will be on DiCaprio for a reaction shot if Winslet wins.

Reading the tea leaves for the best picture winner

The Oscar for best picture is the evening’s last honor, but you’ll be able to sift through clues throughout the evening to figure out which movie will win this closely contested race.

The screenplay Oscars, presented early in the show, will likely go to “Spotlight” (original) and “The Big Short” (adapted). If either fails to win for writing, you can (ahem) write off their best picture chances, as the screenplays are both films’ primary selling points.

Should “The Revenant” win crafts categories like production design, makeup and hair, visual effects and both sound categories, you can tip the balance in its favor. Sure, “The Revenant” could win a couple of these Oscars, but most of the categories are earmarked for “Mad Max: Fury Road.” If “The Revenant” starts vacuuming up every Oscar in its path, it won’t stop until it wins best picture.

And pay particular attention to the Oscar for film editing

A) Because it’s one of cinema’s most underappreciated arts and B) It’s the one chance “The Big Short” has to pick up another Oscar in addition to screenplay and best picture. “Mad Max: Fury Road” stands as the favorite for film editing, but if “The Big Short” prevails, it will be a signal of strength for the film’s best picture chances.

Enjoy ‘Gonna Fly Now’ 39 years later

The Oscars orchestra had to spend a little time learning Bill Conti’s “Rocky” theme song this week, what with Sylvester Stallone the odds-on favorite to take the supporting actor Oscar. Stallone’s speech could provide one of the night’s lump-in-the-throat moments. And we’re pretty sure he’ll remember to thank “Creed” director Ryan Coogler on camera this time.


Watch the Oscars with the L.A. Times. We’ll be bringing you live updates, fashion play-by-plays and real-time commentary starting at 10:30 a.m. at


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Best picture predictions: It’s ‘The Big Short’ for the win