Oscar Excitement Brews

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A clear plastic canopy covers the red carpet on Hollywood Boulevard. The Oscars that will stand sentry there are still under wraps.

This is the first year the Oscars are being held in February. It's being pushed up a full month to combat "award show fatigue" and hopefully boost TV ratings.

Producers are counting on popular eight-time host Billy Crystal to attract an audience.

"It just is still the greatest kick in the world is to get out there in front of the world and try to be funny," said Crystal.

Crystal has his work cut out for him. Last year's show held just days after the U.S. invaded Iraq, was the least watched in history, and this year big name stars like Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts will only appear as presenters. Many of the nominees are largely unknown.

"Mine was a $200,000 movie and I'm here!" exclaimed Patricia Clarkson, a nominee for best actress.

"People remember the moments. The Halle Berry/Adrian Brody kiss, or great, great moments and you can only hope that those moments spring up in your show," said Joe Roth, show producer.

There's not much suspense in the race for Best Picture. A poll of leading critics gave "The Lord of the Rings" one to five odds of winning the Oscar.

You may watch the Academy Awards Sunday at 7:00 p.m. on WTOK-TV.