The glitz! The glamour! The barely concealed disappointment on the faces of the losers!

It’s the 84th Academy Awards, taking place tonight at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. Following the worst year of ticket sales since 1995, top honors are expected to go to “The Artist,” whose entire audience so far has brought in barely a quarter of the opening-weekend gross for last summer’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (the latter of which is nominated for three technical prizes, incidentally).

But while tonight’s show will probably be among the least-watched in recent Oscar history, it should still offer plenty of moments of interest. Will Billy Crystal, hosting for the ninth time, be rolled onto the stage in a Hannibal Lecter mask as he was at the 1992 ceremony? Will Sacha Baron Cohen really be barred from entering the auditorium for arriving in character as the Middle Eastern dictator he’s playing in his next movie?

After receiving its fourth nomination in five years, will Israel finally win its first Oscar for best foreign language film? (No.) When Iranian director Asghar Farhadi accepts the foreign film prize for his amazing drama “A Separation,” will he say anything about the, um, rather, um, tense relationship between his country and the rest of the world?

And finally, on a scale of 1 (stunningly beautiful) to 10 (so preternaturally, glowingly gorgeous you should wear sunglasses to look at her), how will last year’s Jerusalem-born best actress, Natalie Portman, look as she presents one of this year’s prizes?

For answers to these and other burning questions, follow our live of blog of tonight’s proceedings!

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