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What to Watch For Tonight at the Oscars

LOS ANGELES — Pray for an envelope mix-up. Without one, the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday could be thoroughly predictable.

Contrary to initial expectations, the ceremony, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Eastern, will not serve as a pivotal moment for Netflix, which leads the field with 24 nominations. “The Irishman,” Netflix’s primary contender, collapsed on the campaign trail, leaving a traditional movie from a traditional studio, the war epic “1917,” as the favorite to win best picture. (The last film about World War I to receive Hollywood’s top prize was “Lawrence of Arabia” in 1963. So perhaps that will give a few historians a tingle.)

This year’s acting races have been locked for weeks. Renée Zellweger (“Judy”), Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”), Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”) and Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”) will almost assuredly take home Oscars. And do your best to feign surprise when “American Factory” wins the Oscar for best documentary and Elton John (“Rocketman”) collects the prize for song; those wins are set in stone, at least according to handicappers at Gold Derby, an entertainment honors site.

Cinematography? International Feature? Long since sewn up by Roger Deakins (“1917”) and Bong Joon Ho’s genre-busting “Parasite,” the first South Korean movie to be nominated for what used to be known as best foreign film.

And yet.

Surprises are possible. Last year, Glenn Close — the most-nominated living actor, male or female, without a statuette — was expected to finally win best actress for her role in “The Wife.” But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences once again denied her a trip to the stage. The Oscar went to a delightfully gobsmacked Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”).

With its technical wizardry and impressive box office results — $252 million worldwide and counting — “1917” is considered a good bet to convert at least six of its 10 nominations into trophies. Look for it to be honored for sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects in addition to receiving the prizes for best picture, director and cinematography.