Jonathon Ross chats stars, iconic speeches and skipping the LA sun, before hosting Oscars LIVE

ITV News' Entertainment Reporter Rishi Davda spoke to Jonathan Ross, who will host the UK broadcast of the Oscars Live, ahead of the 96th Academy Awards ceremony

It’s 5,437 miles, give or take, from the Dolby Theatre in sun-kissed Los Angeles to the studio on this side of the Atlantic where Jonathan Ross will steer the Oscars ship this Sunday.

Having previously hosted a film review programme, the broadcaster is still movie mad and I regularly spot him at press screenings for upcoming flicks.

So he’s a pretty natural fit to present Oscars Live, the official UK broadcast of the 96th Academy Awards…without doubt the biggest night in Hollywood’s calendar.

He’s used to having stars on his chat show sofa, but this time will be admiring from afar. According to Ross, "it’s the best way to see it, you don’t want to be in amongst it".

"I covered the Oscars from the red carpet once many years ago and it’s a real scrum. We are comfortable here and we didn’t have to travel. (Insert sarcastic tone) I didn’t want to be sitting in the sun in LA. I wanted to stay here, in the rain."

The Oscars signals the end of awards seasons, where strong showings for Poor Things, Barbie, Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest have been eclipsed by the success of Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer leads the Oscar nominations with acknowledgement in 13 categories. Credit: AP

The biopic, directed by British-born Christopher Nolan, has been lauded left, right and centre. However, Jonathan "didn’t engage with it on a human level".

"I didn’t enjoy the film as much as many of my friends did. There are moments in it which I think are extraordinarily good cinema and great performances throughout. I think it will win big on the night."

Speaking of who might get the gong, the 63-year-old reckons "Cillian Murphy is in with a good shout for best actor for Oppenheimer, but I don’t think he’ll get it. I think it’ll go to Paul Giamatti for The Holdovers".

"I don’t think Emily Blunt will get it for Oppenheimer, I think that will go to America Ferrera, best supporting actress from Barbie."

Barbie is nominated for six categories following a stellar box office run. Credit: AP

Barbie was part of a bumper year at the box office 2023, though ticket sales still haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels just yet.

According to the British Film Institute, ticket takings in the UK and the Republic of Ireland totalled £985.8 million across 822 films.

It’s a sign of an industry not just surviving, but thriving. Ross says, "it’s interesting because every few years, especially with the rise of all the different streaming platforms, people say cinema is suffering and cinema is dead".

"If you look at the films that came out this year and look at how well they did, it’s massively popular filmmaking at its very best."

Matthew McConaughey’s 2014 speech is often considered one of the best in recent Oscars history

It’s the 21st century, we live in a social media space and everything can be turned into a meme or be celebrated/mocked online.

The world will be watching the Oscars, not just the winning announcements but the speeches too. Good or bad those speeches live forever so it’s important to get it right.

"We love it when they dedicate it to someone who means lot to them," Jonathan says, "we love it when they are funny but we also love it when they are sincere. We do like emotion, but not too much, we like it be fairly short, but don’t look rushed".

"You know, it’s kind of a tough job. I think what we kind of want is a real human connection."

Sunday will be a celebration of cinema with a competitive edge, each nominee hoping to add a statue to their mantelpiece.

Jonathan Ross hosts Oscars LIVE Sunday March 10 from 10.15pm on ITV1 and ITVX. Ross King is live on the red carpet from 9pm exclusively on ITVX.

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