Joe Reid isn't just Primetimer's managing editor. He's also an awards expert and one half of the popular podcast, This Had Oscar Buzz. So who better to author Primetime's first-ever Oscar Night Bingo card?
Oscar night is nearly here! Are you prepared? Have you caught up on enough of the nominated movies to have formed incredibly strident about opinions about who should and should not win? Have you familiarized yourself with the dozen or so controversies that have plagued this ceremony over the last three months? Have you decided whether you're doing themed snacks or not?
One thing you should be doing, because it spices up any Oscars party, is working off an Oscars Bingo card. The Oscars are uniquely suited to the Bingo party game format because they are — much as they seem to want to fight against it lately — creatures of habit and tradition. Some things you can count on every year, like you used to be able to count on Billy Crystal song parodies and Jack Nicholson reaction shots. We've had to update some of the tried and true Oscar staples, but there are plenty to go around.
Below we've provided an example of one such Bingo card, populated with some of the most likely things to go down at Sunday's awards. Play along with our card or take inspiration and build one out yourself. Below the card, you'll find fleshed out explanations for each square, just in case you're unclear.
Standing ovation: This one's a gimme. While the concept of the standing ovation is ideally meant to be reserved for those moments, occasions, and performances that go so far above and beyond that we are physically propelled to our feet, realistically we can all admit that the standing O has become as perfunctory as simple applause and a borderline mandatory reaction if the celebrity is big enough. Take your space and be happy.
Standing ovation for Ukraine: It's almost assured that the war in Ukraine will be mentioned several times throughout the telecast, whether by the hosts, the presenters, or in acceptance speeches. If Hollywood is as eager to get on their feet to support the Ukrainians as they are to honor Will Smith, you'll likely nab this space too.
Wanda Sykes calls Kodi Smit-McPhee a twink: If you're customizing your own Bingo card, you might consider swapping this for one of the hosts making a joke about Sam Elliott's comments about The Power of the Dog being a subpar Western because Jane Campion is a woman from New Zealand and it's got gay characters. But we're betting Wanda opts for the "if you know, you know" crack about Smit-McPhee's soft, delicate, queer-coded character who's more cunning than he seems.
Amy Schumer makes joke about having slept with someone named Bruno: With Encanto nominated in three categories — plus performing at least two songs, including the smash hit "We Don't Talk About Bruno" — it's a lock that one of the hosts will make a joke referencing the song title. We've seen Amy Schumer do stand-up before. This feels like a secure square.
Regina Hall mentions having shot Nicole Kidman in Nine Perfect Strangers: This one's more of a longshot, since neither Hall nor Kidman may be all that eager to bring up their Hulu series that didn't set the world on fire. But they did work pretty closely together, and the above-mentioned scene definitely happened!
Kim/Kanye/Pete Davidson joke: Topicality at the Oscars is a given, and if you're able to go back and revisit any of the old Oscar ceremonies, you'll see references to innumerable political scandals and celebrity gossip, half of which you won't even remember being a thing. The current celebrity drama surrounding Kim Kardashian, her ex Kanye West, and her new beau Pete Davidson feels ripe for some kind of topical gag.
Joke about who isn't vaccinated bombs: Oscar producers relaxed vaccination requirements for presenters and performers (though not for nominees, a distinction still in search of a difference), prompting a good bit of idle speculation about who in the Hollywood community is vaxxed and who isn't. If one of the hosts does attempt to make a crack about unvaccinated attendees, expect a lot of uncomfortable shifting in seats.
Joke about telcast running long: Jokes about how long the Oscar ceremony is dragging on are a tale as old as time, and with the producers and ABC seemingly as maniacal as ever that the Oscars wrap up in three tidy hours, this feels like an easy call.
Comedic recreation of West Side Story number: This isn't guaranteed, but if one of the stories of the year in film was a ton of high-profile musicals — and West Side Story gobbled up seven nominations — then you'd expect that to get referenced somehow. Joke's on us if they go for a tick, tick… BOOM!-inspired number instead.
Host/Presenter attempts bad Irish accent re: Belfast: Kenneth Branagh's quasi-memoir about growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles is one of this year's most nominated films, and people do love to break out their terrible Irish accents.
Presenter/Host appears on stage in costume from a movie: This is something that has recurred over the years at the Oscars, whether it's Whoopi Goldberg dressing up as Queen Elizabeth or Ben Stiller getting into full Na'vi drag for the Avatar Oscars. It's unclear which film's costumes are most likely to get this treatment (tennis whites for King Richard? Atreides formal wear for Dune?), but you're covered on this square no matter what.
Will & Jada reaction shot: Will Smith is poised to win his first ever Oscar for King Richard, and he's the most famous person among the acting nominees, so you can bet the cameras will be looking for him and Jada whenever they can.
Javier & Penelope reaction shot: Both Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) and Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) are nominated. They're also married to each other. They're also two of the most beautiful people on Earth. So, yeah, expect them to be on camera a bunch.
Kirsten & Jesse reaction shot: Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons are also both nominated, for the same film — The Power of the Dog — and they've become two of the darlings of this year's awards circuit.
Lin-Manuel Miranda reaction shot: If it's a Hollywood celebration and the Hamilton creator is in attendance, odds are the cameras will find him. He's also got a hand in two of this year's nominated films, tick, tick… BOOM! and Encanto, so there will be plenty of occasions to look for him.
Billie Eilish looks uncomfortable: The last time Billie Eilish was at the Oscars, the cameras caught her grimacing (at herself? at presenters Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig?) in her best Gen Z "that's so cringe!" pose. This year, she's a nominee for the title song from No Time to Die, so we'll see if she continues to find everything around her awkward.
Kristen Stewart looks uncomfortable: Of course, Billie Eilish is an amateur when it comes to looking ill at ease in a room full of Hollywood glamour types. Kristen Stewart's been a pro at that game since her Twilight days. After a full season of campaigning for her nominated role in Spencer, has she gotten any more comfortable in these environs?
Cast of a film reunites: Oscar producers have declared their intention to reunite the casts of several beloved movies at this year's ceremony. And indeed the list of presenters announced for this year include many potential reunions (John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman from Pulp Fiction; Elliott Page and Jennifer Garner from Juno; Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes, and Rosie Perez from White Men Can't Jump).
Presenter visibly hates copy they have to deliver: This one's a fave. Oscar presenter banter can range from the solemn and studious to the silly and dumb, and both approaches can be done well or terribly. Any given ceremony has examples of all of these that run the gamut. The best/worst is when a presenter or presenters realize their scripted remarks are horrendous and either visibly roll their eyes throughout or even just refuse to say it.
Agent thanked: An enduring classic for a reason. Thank the person who got you the money.
Winner thanks real-life person they portrayed: This year we could see thank-yous sent out to everyone from Richard Williams (Will Smith) to the late Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman), Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem), Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain), Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield), or Diana Spencer (Kristen Stewart).
Jane Campion thanked: With The Power of the Dog nominated in 12 categories, it's bound to win something. Probably several somethings. And every time it does, expect Campion to get thanked as the captain of the ship.
Steven Spielberg thanked: West Side Story's seven nominations are also likely to net at least one win, in which case Spielberg will likely some gratitude sent his way.
Someone completes their EGOT: There's only one opportunity for this to happen, so roll the dice and make it count: if Encanto's "Dos Oruguitas" wins Best Original Song, Lin-Manuel Miranda will have the Oscar to go with his Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards, this elevating him to EGOT status. At which point, photographers will be on a mission to photograph him with fellow EGOT winner Rita Moreno.
Orchestra plays someone off: This is another that might well have been a free space. With producers maniacal about a three-hour run time, expect them to pull out the hook early and often when speeches start to ramble. Wouldn't want to spend too much time at this awards show on people accepting awards!
The 94th Academy Awards air on ABC Sunday March 27th at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT.
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Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.
TOPICS: 94th Academy Awards, Amy Schumer, Billie Eilish, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jane Campion, Javier Bardem, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Stewart, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Penélope Cruz, Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes, Will Smith