Hollywood's biggest night has finally arrived. The 91st Academy Awards are Sunday night, live from Los Angeles — and despite the many hiccups this year's show has already suffered, the ceremony is still the premier event of the awards season.
Not that the producers of even academy members themselves seem to fall into that group. The weeks leading into this year's Oscars 2019 broadcast have been filled with missteps and errors — including but not limited to a controversial decision to give out four smaller awards during the broadcast's commercial breaks (with the results folded into the telecast via an edited package). That change was swiftly denounced on social media and later reversed. Movies, now more than ever!
But regardless of the backroom drama surrounding the broadcast itself, the Oscars are poised to be a celebration 2018's best and biggest movies — and it's a wide-open race for Best Picture thanks to a wild season of precursor upsets. The biggest prize for drama 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 (winning in the comedy category at the Golden Globes and taking the Producers Guild award for best film), while the SAG Awards proved that people shouldn't sleep on Black Panther this year either.
There is also some small debate around who will take home the Academy's acting prizes. 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 — she's a big favorite (sorry, Olivia) to win on Sunday night. 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. (In which case, expect Christian Bale and Richard E. Grant to pick up their slack.)
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.
When are the Oscars and what channel are the Oscars on? The 2019 Oscars will air live on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8/7c on ABC. That channel is available for live-streaming at ABC's website as well as Hulu's Live TV service.
Who's hosting the Oscars? Glad you asked! This year, no one will host the Oscars for the first time in 30 years. Of course, that wasn't always the plan. Kevin Hart was hired and, almost as quickly, stepped away from the role after some of his old, homophobic tweets resurfaced on social media. And even though Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross proved they were totally up to the job when they announced the nominations, the academy and ABC decided to forgo a host in 2019. (It was later reported that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was approached to host, but he declined because of scheduling issues.) ABC President of Entertainment Karey Burke has assured journalists the show's no-host formula will be smooth, putting the spotlight on the presenters as well as the stars and films being honored.
Why are the Oscars so controversial this year? The Academy has also been doing damage control for weeks. 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 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, will not appear during the show).
Another controversial decision made by the Academy was shifting certain categories off into the commercial breaks. This year, at least at first, 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. But the Academy later backed off these controversial plans — and all 24 categories will be awarded during the live broadcast.
Who's presenting and performing at the Oscars? 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, Sarah Paulson, Elsie Fisher, Danai Gurira, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Keaton, Helen Mirren, John Mulaney, Tyler Perry, Pharrell Williams, Krysten Ritter, Paul Rudd and Michelle Yeoh 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 star 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."
Other stars alongside Williams who will introduce the Best Picture nominees include chef José Andrés, actor and comic Dana Carvey, actor and singer Queen Latifah, Congressman John Lewis, actor Diego Luna, musician Tom Morello, actor and comic Mike Myers, comic and late-night host Trevor Noah, actor Amandla Stenberg and singer and actor (and all-around legend) Barbra Streisand.
"Movies connect us all," said Oscars producers Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss about the decision to have a starry roster of Best Picture introductions. "They move us, and they create moments and memories that unite us. We are thrilled to assemble this well-known array of film lovers to introduce and share their reflections on the Best Picture-nominated movies."
Who is nominated for Oscars in 2019? 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.
Who has the most Oscars? Let's end this with a bit of Oscars trivia. Katharine Hepburn has the most Oscars for performers, with four. Numerous legendary stars have won three Oscars, including Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day-Lewis. For directors, John Ford won four Oscars. But his total can't compare to Walt Disney, who earned a record 26 Oscars during his life. As for individual films, Titanic, Ben-Hur and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King have won the most Oscars ever, tied with 11.
PHOTOS: 17 Times the Oscars Got It Wrong