The best of the week ahead - The 87th Academy Awards
Your TV highlights with Paul Whittington
Sunday, Sky Movies Oscars, 11.30pm. An orgy of Hollywood backslapping.
Only a fool would sit up half the night watching the great and good of Tinseltown shower themselves with gifts and praise, and for those of you with proper lives to lead, Oscar highlights will be shown on RTÉ and elsewhere on Monday. But I find there's something fascinating about watching the whole ghastly panoply unfolding live, especially with a new host waiting nervously in the wings. Actor Neil Patrick Harris (right) takes over the reigns from Ellen DeGeneres, who I thought did a very good job hosting a rather messy ceremony last year.
In 2013, Seth McFarlane had made a tough gig look an awful lot tougher by resorting to nervy, charmless crudity, but Ellen made no such mistake. "For those of you watching around the world," she began, "it's been a tough couple of days for us. It has been raining. We're fine - thanks for your prayers." During the show she made many such gentle references to Hollywood's pampered self-absorption, persuaded Harvey Weinstein to contribute a couple of hundred dollars to a 'pizza whip-around' and masterminded that famous star-studded selfie.
Mr Harris has a nicely jaundiced sense of humour, and shouldn't be too overawed by the event. But what the casual viewer really hopes for is a super-embarrassing acceptance speech. Last year's winner by a mile was Matthew McConaughey, who thanked God, talked about his dad dancing in heaven, and addressed his hero, "me in 10 years". Fabulous.