Workers roll out the red carpet for the 85th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. The Academy Awards will be held Sunday, Feb. 24,
Workers roll out the red carpet for the 85th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. The Academy Awards will be held Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

After all the predictions, outrage and buildup, it's almost here: The 85th Academy Awards rolls out the red carpet on Sunday, and we're holding out hope it won't leave us disappointed and bored.

We have our fingers crossed that these five things will occur and turn a routine ceremony into something extra special:

1. Surprises!: The prognosticators are saying the big prizes will come down to two contenders: "Argo" and "Lincoln." How bland is that? So what if a dark horse galloped in at the last minute? Social media would go nuts. Here's hoping the film about wounded underdogs, "Silver Linings Playbook," proves to be the ultimate underdog and takes home the top prize. Not only would that be a stunning upset, it would be satisfying one and help increase the sales of crabbie snacks worldwide.

2. A shorter show: When a winner hits the podium and takes out the spectacles to read a lengthy list, give 'em the hook after one minute. Lists are made for shopping at Trader Joe's, not awards shows. As one of our curmudgeon-like editors likes to grouse: Keep it tight and bright. Pay heed, Oscar.

3. Revisit having previous award winners introduce the best actor and best actress nominees: In 2010, Academy producers tapped Michele Pfeiffer, Oprah and others to talk about a particular nominee, and what made him or her stand out. It was brilliant actually, an original idea that showed personality, depth and insight. Much better than some presenter just checking off names.

4. Allow Seth MacFarland to really cut loose: Unlike the less hoity-toity Golden Globes, the Academy Awards takes itself seriously, as it should. BUT ... too much stateliness can produce a deadly dull show. So loosen up that collar, and give "Family Guy" MacFarland some liberty to go a little bleep crazy. You can take it on the chin, Hollywood. Oh yes, you can.

5. Sparkling Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence acceptance speeches: Even though, we'd love to see Joaquin Phoenix sneak in for the win in the best actor category, there's absolutely no debate on who would give the classier speech. Day-Lewis was ever so poised, gracious and intelligent during his Golden Globes acceptance. You just know his elegant way with words will impress and send a chill up our spine. And if Lawrence wins -- as many expect -- let's hope she says something once more that's candid, spectacular and unscripted.

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© 2013 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

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