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Economy Is Coloring Oscar Week—But Events Are On and Telecast May Be Musical, Upbeat

Will the economy cast a pall over Oscar week? The short answer is yes and no.

In a year when an upbeat movie, Slumdog Millionaire, is expected by some to sweep top honors, the overall tone of the show might be upbeat as well. With new producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark, who are behind the movie Dreamgirls, the award ceremony may have a reimagined format—although no one is disclosing too many details yet. Hugh Jackman is the program's host—despite the fact that that spot is typically reserved for a comedian. So some expect to see a music-focused show, according to Reuters, which also pointed out that, earlier in the month, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Sid Ganis promised the show's producers “are going to take some risks, many risks, some bold.”

The gifting suites around town are many and manifold—including those hosted by usual suspects like GBK, Silver Spoon, and Melanie Segal—and they largely have a charity bent.

The parties are also going forward in no short supply, with Vanity Fair back on the scene (albeit in a smaller venue, the Sunset Tower) after last year's cancellation. The mag's presence alone is likely to renew some of past years' Oscar-night glamour, even if the party itself is somewhat scaled back. And regardless of the Governors Ball's actual budget, its look will be more subdued than in past years, as we've reported.

Overall, some planners and vendors report that Oscar parties' overall budgets have shrunk—and that some haven't. “Some haven't cut 1 percent; others have cut 75 percent,” Along Came Mary's Michael Gapinsky told Reuters.