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You, me and about a billion other people will be watching the Academy Awards tonight (7 p.m., Ch. 4).

And that's no exaggeration.You see, the show will be aired in a total of 93 countries. And 63 of those nations will take the broadcast live.

We've talking everyone from Albania (the newest participant in the Oscar derby) to Zimbabwe.

Why? Well, that's a little hard to say. Certainly it can't be because of the broadcast itself - the program tends to be long, overblown and rather boring.

And, generally, most of the viewing audience has seen only a few of the nominated films.

Perhaps it's a chance to see all those stars (or all those dresses and be able to comment on how ghastly many of them are).

Whatever it is, an awful lot of people will be watching. And here are a few of the scheduled highlights, which, of course, are subject to last-minute changes:

- Billy Crystal returns as master of ceremonies.

- Jasmine Guy will headline the big opening number. The big question is - why? She's a television actress ("A Different World"). Maybe it's because of her terrible performance in the terrible "Harlem Nights."

- Barbara Streisand, who's apparently gotten over the snub the Academy gave "Yentl," will present the best-picture Oscar.

- Among the musical performers will be Madonna, who'll sing "Sooner Or Later (I Always Get My Man)" from "Dick Tracy." (She didn't get her man, though. She and Warren Beatty have split up.)

The other scheduled performers are Harry Connick Jr. ("Promise Me You'll Remember" from "The Godfather III"), Jon Bon Jovi ("Blaze of Glory" from "Young Guns II"), Reba McEntire ("I'm Checkin' Out" from "Postcards From the Edge") and a children's choir, which will sing "Somewhere in My Memory" from "Home Alone."

- Myrna Loy will receive a special Oscar for her career. (But she'll accept via satellite from her New York apartment.)

- Sophia Loren will be honored as a "world film treasure." Gregory Peck will present the award.

- The Irving Thalburg Award (10 points if you know who he was) will be presented to producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown.

- Bob Hope will host a segment titled "The First Time" in which stars will reminisce about the first movie they ever attended.

- All of this year's acting nominees are scheduled to be in the audience - with the exception of best-actress nominee Joanne Woodward. (And there's been talk her no-show could cost her the Oscar.)

- All of last year's acting winners will be presenters this year - Daniel Day-Lewis will hand out the best-actress award; Jessica Tandy the best actor; Denzel Washington the best supporting actress; and Brenda Fricker the best supporting actor.

- Other scheduled presenters include Danny Aiello, Ann-Margret, Anne Archer, Jeff Bridges, Michael Caine, Phoebe Cates, Chevy Chase, Glenn Close, Tom Cruise, Macaulay Culkin, Geena Davis, Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster, Andy Garcia, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, Anjelica Huston, Kevin Kline, Jack Lemmon, Gregory Peck, Susan Sarandon, Martin Short, Ron Silver, Christian Slater, Meryl Streep, Jack Valenti and Debra Winger.

The show is scheduled to last three hours, but tends to run a bit long. (Last year's was three hours and 24 minutes.)

But there is hope - in 1985, the show actually wrapped up three minutes early.