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Oscars shake up: Power to fans and a hosting surprise

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The 2022 Oscars is shaking up its big night – with a new “fan favourite” award and a triple whammy of hosts, designed to bolster flagging ratings.

Comic actors Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes will host this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, Hollywood publication Variety and other media outlets have reported.

The actors are finalising details and an announcement would be made on Tuesday (US time) on ABC’s Good Morning America, Variety said. ABC, owned by Walt Disney Co, will broadcast the Oscars ceremony on March 27.

Schumer won an Emmy in 2015 for her variety sketch show Inside Amy Schumer. Hall is known for movies including Girls Trip and Little. Sykes stars in and created The Upshaws and played a recurring role on Black-ish.

In other big Oscars developments, from Monday Twitter users are able to vote for their favourite films released in 2021 – even if the film is not nominated for an award. Fans can use the hashtag #OscarsFanFavorite to nominate their own picks – and the film that has the most votes by March 3 will be recognised during the awards broadcast.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Twitter to help build an engaged and excited digital audience leading up to this year’s ceremony,” Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences digital marketing vice-president Meryl Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter.

“Through these activations, social media users around the world now have more opportunities to engage with the show in real time, find a community and be a part of the experience in ways they’ve never been able to before.”

The film industry’s highest honours, which are handed out by the academy, have flailed in recent years.

The Oscars were handed out by celebrity presenters but had no host in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Ratings for the telecast have fallen in recent years, dropping to a low of 10.4 million people in the US in 2021. Viewership of other entertainment awards shows also has declined.

The 2021 Oscars ceremony was scaled down because of the pandemic. The awards were handed out at a historic train station in downtown Los Angeles in front of a small audience of nominees and guests.

This year, organisers have said the show will return to its longtime home of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Netflix Inc’s gothic Western, the Jane Campion-directed The Power of the Dog, leads the field of this year’s Oscar nominations with 12 nods. It is followed by science-fiction epic Dune with 10.

-with AAP

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