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It all comes down to this, movie fans.
The 91st Academy Awards are almost here, and despite the many hiccups this year’s show has already suffered, the ceremony is still the premier event of the season for anyone who loves movies. This season, the Oscars follow a series of bracket-busting surprises at preceding awards shows: The biggest prize for dramas at the Golden Globe Awards went to Bohemian Rhapsody, while the BAFTAs picked Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma as the year’s best film. Green Book has also picked up some unexpected steam this season, and the SAG Awards proved that people shouldn’t sleep on Black Panther this year either. So, the Best Picture category is still completely wide open, folks.
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There is also debate around who will take home the Academy’s acting prizes this year. Olivia Colman’s BAFTA-winning turn in The Favourite is, well, the favorite for some, but Glenn Close’s work in The Wife has already earned her a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Meanwhile, best supporting actress nominee Regina King seems poised to finally collect her first Oscar for If Beale Street Could Talk, so long as the Academy doesn’t try to make it up to Vice‘s Amy Adams for past oversights. Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Mahershala Ali (Green Book) also seem like locks for the leading and supporting categories, respectively — unless the controversies surrounding their pictures finally catch up to them.
We’ll have to tune in to the show to see which films and performances stuck with Oscars voters the most this year, so here’s what you need to know about how to watch the 91st Academy Awards.
How to watch: The 2019 Oscars will air live on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 9/8c on ABC. That channel is available for live-streaming at ABC’s website as well as Hulu’s Live TV service.
What to expect: There’s been an unusual amount of drama leading up to this year’s Oscars telecast. Most notably, erstwhile host Kevin Hart stepped away from the role after some of his old homophobic tweets resurfaced. And even though Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross proved they were totally up to the job when they announced the nominations, no new host has been named. ABC President of Entertainment Karey Burke has assured journalists that the show’s no-host formula will be smooth, putting the spotlight on the presenters as well as the stars and films being honored.
The Academy has also been doing damage control elsewhere. After Allison Janney revealed she was not initially slated to present and that it was a heartbreaker for her, the Academy quickly remedied that and invited all four of last year’s acting winners to present this year, per usual. The Academy also recently announced that all five nominees for best original song will be given their time in the spotlight, despite originally only planning to feature two: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow” and Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars” (Lamar, however, remains unconfirmed to appear).
Another controversial decision made by the Academy was shifting certain categories off into the commercial breaks. This year, at least, four winners will be announced away from the televised broadcast: best cinematography (where Cuarón is a favorite for Roma), best editing (which could go to Bohemian Rhapsody, a victory that might melt Film Twitter), best makeup and hairstyling (Vice is in the lead there) and best live-action short (sorry, this one maybe deserves a spot amongst the ads).
Following intense backlash from the film community, the Academy defended its plan in a letter to members, writing that the acceptance speeches for those four wins would be aired during the telecast but that the plan was simply to shore up time spent on talent walking to the stage. “We’d like to assure you that no award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others,” the letter read.
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The presenters: Janney, Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell will return to present. The Academy has also announced that Awkwafina, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg, Charlize Theron, Tessa Thompson, Constance Wu, Javier Bardem, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Emilia Clarke, Laura Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Stephan James, Keegan-Michael Key, KiKi Layne, James McAvoy, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Momoa and Sarah Paulson will serve as presenters for the showcase.
The evening will also include a slate of eight presenters from outside of the Hollywood realm, including tennis pro Serena Williams, who is set to speak about what A Star Is Born means to her. Producer Donna Gigliotti told the New York Times of the decision, “Along with inclusion, which we definitely want to embrace, the big theme of the show is about movies connecting us — not in this theater but in a big, sweeping, cultural way.”
The nominations: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born and Vice are all competing for Best Picture. Meanwhile Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Willem Dafoe, Rami Malek and Viggo Mortensen will all duke it out for Best Actor, while Yalitza Aparicio, Glenn Close, Olivia Colman, Lady Gaga and Melissa McCarthy contend for Best Actress. Click here for the full list of the 2019 Academy Award nominees.
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