By JAKE COYLE/AP Film Writer

LOS ANGELES (WWJ/AP) – Hollywood is bracing for an Academy Awards that more than any in recent memory, has the feel of a high-stakes showdown.

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After a second straight year of all-white acting nominees prompted industry-wide scrutiny, viewers and stars alike are hanging on the opening words of host Chris Rock.

The Dolby Theatre ceremony, which begins at 8:30 p.m. EST, stands at the center of a swirling storm over diversity in the movies and at the Oscars. Protests are planned near the red carpet and some viewers are organizing a boycott of the broadcast.

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The Academy Awards, normally decorous and predictable, are this year charged with enough politics and uncertainty to rival an election debate.

Best picture is considered up for grabs, with “The Revenant,” “The Big Short” and “Spotlight” in the mix.

 

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