Don't feel bad if you don't feel locked in yet with the Oscars. Up until a few days ago, neither did the host.
"The truth is we've been doing The Daily Show for all the way up until just this week, so I've been kind of focused on that," Jon Stewart said Monday on CNN's Larry King. "And at home my wife and I just had another baby, so I've also been thinking about that."
Come Sunday night, Stewart presumably will be with the program.
And come Monday morning's TV ratings, it'll be clear if the audience was with the program, too.
Until then, the only thing that's certain about the 78th Annual Academy Awards is its scheduled starting time on ABC: 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
In the meantime, here's a rundown of the some of the big questions surrounding the big event:
So, um, will anybody watch?
Yes. The Oscars are to award shows what the Super Bowl is to football. Even if the teams aren't highly anticipated, the guacamole dip is. Or to put it another way, even in a historically bad year, such as 2003, 33 million people watched and/or noshed along with the show.
Well, why does it seem like nobody's going to watch?
Because, typically, hit movies beget hit ratings. In 1982, a fight of the $100 million movies E.T. and Tootsie got broken up by Gandhi--and 53.3 million tuned in. In 1995, Forrest Gump capped off a $300 million box-office run with a Best Picture trophy--and 48.3 million tuned in. In 1998, Titanic capped off a $600 million box-office run--and 55.3 million tuned in.
In 2006, there are no $100 million movies in the Best Picture race. Frontrunner Brokeback Mountain is the blockbuster of bunch on the strength of its $76.4 million gross through Thursday, per BoxOfficeMojo.com.
And Brokeback by no means is heading into the Oscars on a roll--at least at the box office. The much-acclaimed gay cowboy drama has been in steady decline at the multiplex since the weekend before Oscar nominations were announced.
Making matters more troubling, the Harris Poll found that only 13 percent of adults surveyed last month thought Brokeback "should" win Best Picture.
Crash is actually the people's choice, per the Harris Poll, with 20 percent saying it "should" be the Best Picture honoree. But like Brokeback, Crash is no Titanic--it made $53.4 million during its theatrical run.
The Harris Poll finding, however, most likely to trouble television executives is this one: 42 percent of adults either didn't think any of the five Best Picture nominees should claim the night's big prize or weren't sure which one should prevail.
So, maybe Jon Stewart will make people want to watch just to hear what he's going to say?
Sure, there's that. According to the Harris Poll, a whopping 9 percent are more likely to tune into the Oscars because of the Daily Show host. Maybe there'll be Jessica Alba?
Sure, there's that, too. Alba's a scheduled presenter. So, are the likes of Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, Will Smith, Jennifer Aniston (but not Brad Pitt), Nicole Kidman (but not Tom Cruise), Jennifer Lopez, and three of last year's four acting winners: Hilary Swank, Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman. (Reigning Best Supporting Actress winner Cate Blanchett presumably will be in New York where she's currently pretending to be Norwegian for the purposes of employment on Broadway.)
Maybe there'll be upsets?
The betting lines at London-based oddsmaker Ladbrokes say there won't be. Nothing has budged since nominations were announced in January. Then as now, the big favorites are: Capote's Philip Seymour Hoffman for Best Actor; Walk the Line's Reese Witherspoon for Best Actress; The Constant Gardener's Rachel Weisz for Best Supporting Actress; Brokeback Mountain's Ang Lee for Best Director; Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture.
The only race that's possibly up for grabs, per Ladbrokes: Best Supporting Actor, where money has been coming in of late on George Clooney for Syriana. SAG winner Paul Giamatti remains the favorite for Cinderella Man.
Well, at least the celebrities will get fabulous gift bags. That's something to celebrate isn't it?
Sort of. This year's official gift bags to presenters and performers are each stuffed with more than $100,000 in Hawaiian resort vacations, chocolates and what-not. Pretty fabulous, indeed.
What's not so fabulous was Friday's press release from the Internal Revenue Service reminding presenters and performers that "six-figure goodie bags...qualify as taxable income and must be reported on tax returns.
Isn't there anything to look forward to?
Of course. Stewart, for instance, told Larry King he was hoping Best Actor nominee Terrence Howard would pull out a win for Hustle & Flow. "I just want to hear [conductor] Bill Conti and the orchestra play, 'It's [Hard] Out [There] for a Pimp,'" Stewart said, anticipating Howard's walk to the stage. "I just want to hear how that sounds with violins." Say, what does "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp" sound like with violins?
Don't know. But, per the New York Post, viewers at home will learn what it's like to hear the Oscar-nominated song minus some of its more colorful lyrics. In the name of keeping it real, however, the Academy has signed off on allowing Three 6 Mafia to sing the praises of "bitches" in the song's chorus. One more thing: Any word if Isaac Mizrahi is going to tug on Jessica Alba's dress?
Oscar producer Gil Cates doesn't think so. As he told Friday's Los Angeles Times: "No one is going to touch anyone's private parts at the Oscars. It's just not done."
For his part, Mizrahi, back with the E! red carpet team after firing up the Golden Globes with his couture adjustments, told the Times he's got his "own sensibility" and he's going to bring it. (E! Online and E! Entertainment are divisions of E! Networks.)
"Being a fashion designers, it's almost like being a doctor," Mizrahi said in the newspaper. "You can touch a person because they cough and you can tell whether they're ill."