We’ve made it, cinephiles! Oscar week is officially upon us. You’ve watched the films, picked your favorites, and made it this far — don’t miss out on the big night itself! Read on for everything to know about this year’s Academy Awards. (And this year, there is a lot to know.)
What time are the Oscars?
The 91st annual Academy Awards will take place this Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The ceremony will air live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Wow, one of the tough questions right up front! The short answer is: Nobody. The long answer is… addressed below.
In keeping with tradition, all four of last year’s acting winners — Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Allison Janney, and Sam Rockwell — will present this year (but more on that below). Other confirmed presenters include Awkwafina, Javier Bardem, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Emilia Clarke, Daniel Craig, Laura Dern, Chris Evans, Tina Fey, Elsie Fisher, Samuel L. Jackson, Stephan James, Michael B. Jordan, Keegan-Michael Key, Whoopi Goldberg, Danai Gurira, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Keaton, Brie Larson, KiKi Layne, Jennifer Lopez, James McAvoy, Melissa McCarthy, Helen Mirren, Jason Momoa, John Mulaney, Sarah Paulson, Tyler Perry, Amy Poehler, Krysten Ritter, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg, Charlize Theron, Tessa Thompson, Pharrell Williams, Constance Wu, and Michelle Yeoh. Presenting the Best Picture nominees will be eight individuals “outside the world of entertainment,” including Serena Williams.
Jennifer Hudson will be performing Best Original Song nominee “I’ll Fight,” from RBG and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings will sing The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings.” As a surprise guest, Bette Midler is set to take the stage for a performance of Mary Poppins Returns’ nominated track “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will dive off the deep end together to bring A Star Is Born’s “Shallow” to the Oscar telecast. The only Best Original Song nominee that apparently won’t be sung is “All the Stars” from Black Panther; we do at least know that if the song does get its moment on the Oscar stage, it definitely won’t be the original artists Kendrick Lamar and SZA performing it.
In addition to the nominated songs, Queen and Adam Lambert will also perform in honor of the Best Picture-nominated Bohemian Rhapsody.
Well, Black Panther, for one! While the superhero smash picked up a historic nod, The Favourite and Roma led the nominations with 10 each, followed by A Star Is Born and Vice, both of which scored eight. The starriest categories are listed below; check out the full list here.
A Star Is Born
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice
Can you please provide a timeline and brief explanation of all the various small disasters that have already befallen this year’s Oscars ceremony mostly as a result of Academy decisions that were publicly ridiculed and then reversed?
Wow, weirdly specific question, but sure! To begin, we’ll have to throw it back to…
AUGUST: The Academy announced the addition of a new category, honoring achievement in “popular film.” Oscar-watchers across the globe were appalled. Following the outrage, the new award, like so many things that have been savagely ripped on Twitter, was canceled. Whew, okay, no more scandals, right?
Wrong! Let’s move on to DECEMBER, when the job of Oscar host, previously held by comedy icons like Bob Hope, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and the dynamic duo of James Franco and Anne Hathaway, went to Kevin Hart. Great! Until, in the 48 hours following the announcement, a series of years-old homophobic and transphobic tweets from the comedian resurfaced, igniting a furious reaction. Hart first refused to apologize, saying “I’ve addressed it several times,” but that did little to quell the backlash. He finally stepped down from the gig “because I do not want to be a distraction” and offered an apology “for my insensitive words from my past.”
But wait! It’s not over! In JANUARY, following Hart’s withdrawal from the role, Ellen DeGeneres expressed her support for the comedian. She had him on her show, where she told Hart “I really want you to host the Oscars,” and he said he was “evaluating” his decision to back out. Five days later, he declared once and for all, “No, I’m not hosting the Oscars this year.” There was much speculation about who would take the podium after the whole mess, but the Academy never named a replacement. So here we are, hostless.
I’m sorry, did you think that was all? Later in JANUARY, Variety reported that the ceremony would feature live performances of only two of the five Best Original Song nominees — Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars” from Black Panther and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow” from A Star Is Born (two blockbuster Best Picture nominees that might have found themselves in the “popular” category had things gone differently last summer). Before the decision was ever confirmed, the Academy specifically announced that all three of the other nominated songs would be performed — but the weirdness didn’t end there. Weeks later, just a few days before the ceremony, with all of the other song performances already officially announced, EW confirmed that Lamar and SZA would not perform their nominated track on the big night. There’s no official word yet from the Academy whether another artist will take it on, but Variety reported that the song won’t be heard at all.
Early FEBRUARY brought another (hastily rectified) possible problem, when reports arose that last year’s acting winners would not be invited to present at this year’s ceremony. Last year’s Best Supporting Actress Allison Janney reportedly posted (then deleted) on Instagram that “it breaks my heart” she might not be asked to present. The internet was just beginning to rumble about it when the Academy confirmed that all four actors would return to the Oscar stage. Whew, that was close!
But then came the big one. In FEBRUARY, less than two weeks before the show, Oscar organizers announced that the awards for cinematography, editing, live-action short, and makeup and hairstyling would be presented during commercial breaks and then edited (ha! Editing!) to air later in the telecast. To which Hollywood said: Excuse me? Dozens of actors and filmmakers — including Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, Brad Pitt, Kerry Washington, and more — signed an open letter imploring the Academy to reconsider relegating critical awards to the commercial breaks. Days after the initial announcement, the Academy reversed its decision and promised to air all 24 awards live. So there you have it!
The 91st Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.