AP Movie Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Hollywood's glitziest night is under way as Academy Awards nominees in their finest gowns and tuxes hit the red carpet for Sunday's show, with nominees Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams and Charlize Theron among the more statuesque arrivals.
Chastain, a best-actress contender for "Zero Dark Thirty," blew a kiss to cheering fans while wearing a glistening copper-tone strapless gown, who chanted "Jessica!" while hunky best-actor nominee Bradley Cooper of "Silver Linings Playbook" drew some of the loudest screams from fans. Amanda Seyfried revealed she was wearing a corset: "I feel super tucked in," she said.
Composer Mychael Danna, a dual nominee for the score and theme song to "Life of Pi," joked with red-carpet host Chris Connelly that he was keeping his acceptance speeches in separate pockets of his tuxedo.
Keeping them straight, Danna said, "is one of the reasons I won't be having any cocktails before I go in."
Nine-year-old best-actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" sang a few bars of "Tomorrow" from "Annie," the upcoming movie musical whose title role she snagged in an announcement from Sony Pictures earlier Sunday. She wore a navy-blue dress with black, navy and silver jewels scattered on the skirt and a big bow on the back.
Chef Wolfgang Puck showed off some of the eats he'll be serving at the Governors Ball after the show, including baked potatoes with caviar, smoked salmon oscars, chicken pot pie with truffle and kobe steak.
"It's going to be the greatest party ever," Puck said.
A giant black-and-white photo of Oscar host Seth MacFarlane towered over the carpet, and some of his family also were among early arrivals, including his sister and father, who wore a green plaid kilt.
"It's not going to be too over the top," said MacFarlane's sister Rachel of her sibling's gig.
Fans have pondered how far MacFarlane the impudent creator of "Family Guy," might push the normally prim and proper Oscars.
MacFarlane may be a wild card, but as for the show itself, predictability could be the Academy Awards' middle name. This time looks the same, with clear favorites in the main categories.
So Oscar organizers hope they've assembled a show that will be good time on its own performance merits, with wily, bawdy writer, director, animator, singer and all-around vocal talent MacFarlane as host and a ceremony packed with song and dance.
The awards themselves do hold some potential firsts and other rarities.
Ben Affleck's "Argo" looks like it will be an uncommon film to claim best picture without a directing nomination, while "Lincoln" filmmaker Steven Spielberg and star Daniel Day-Lewis are favored to join exclusive lists of three-time Oscar winners.
If some longshots came in, the night could produce two more three-time acting winners -- Sally Field from "Lincoln" and Robert De Niro for "Silver Linings Playbook."
There's also a chance of the oldest or youngest acting winner ever -- 86-year-old "Amour" star Emmanuelle Riva and 9-year-old Wallis for "Beasts."
The ABC broadcast itself could set some fresh highs or lows. Oscar overseers keep talking about pacing and trimming fat from a ceremony that's dragged on interminably, approaching four and a half hours one year. Can they keep it tight and lively enough that viewers don't think about gouging out their eyes around the three-hour mark?
And what about host MacFarlane? He's a classy, low-key guy in person, with an old-fashioned Sinatra-style singing voice that he'll no doubt put to use in a show that's shaping up as a music-heavy, Broadway-style celebration of cinema.
Yet MacFarlane's career is built on pushing the envelope -- or crumpling it and tossing it in the trash -- as he's tested the boundaries of good taste with such brazen shows as his animated series "Family Guy" and last summer's F-bomb-laden blockbuster "Ted," which earned him a songwriting Oscar nomination.
The result could be a fun night for younger, hipper TV audiences that Oscar organizers are courting but a crude awakening for traditionalists who like their Academy Awards to lean more toward the sacred than the profane. Or it could be that MacFarlane makes the most of the thankless task of shepherding the Oscars, striking a nice balance between respecting Hollywood and poking it in the eye.
"I think a little bit of that injected into the mix will go a long way, but I do also have to be mindful, in this instance, of not losing the audience that's there every year," MacFarlane said amid a hectic rehearsal schedule. "It's a different audience from my own, but I do have to be respectful that they will be watching."