If you, like most of the non-glitterati that compose the global population, plan to watch Sunday’s Academy Awards not from a seat in the Dolby Theatre but tucked under your duvet, welcome—you are amongst friends. Although the Oscars have lost much of the appointment-television prestige they once held, many film fans still consider the event Hollywood’s biggest night, and anyway, it’s fun to argue on Twitter about who really deserves trophies, right? So if you plan to join the inevitable discourse that follows, you’ll want to watch the action happen live. Here’s how to tune in.
When do the Oscars red carpet and ceremony begin?
Delayed from its usual February date due to the pandemic, this year’s Oscars will take place on Sunday, March 27, starting at 8 p.m. EST on ABC, with red carpet shows expected to start the party much earlier. (ABC-specific coverage will begin at 6 p.m. EST, while E! Live From The Red Carpet will launch at 5 p.m. EST.)
How can I watch from home? Can I stream the show?
For those with a cable package or a TV antenna, you have the luxury of tuning into ABC for all your live coverage in one place. If you’d prefer not to pick up a remote over the course of the evening, you’re also welcome to watch via the ABC app or abc.com, so long as you have the aforementioned subscription.
What will be different about this year’s ceremony?
Sunday will mark a much-welcome return to normalcy after last year’s less-than-lauded ceremony at Los Angeles’s Union Station. For one thing, we’ll get hosts again after a disastrous two-year no-host policy from the Academy: Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes will lead this year’s occasion. But guests will also return to the Dolby Theatre, a now-iconic venue that lends the evening much of its gloss.
Unfortunately, that’s the good news. The bad news is that eight categories—Best Editing, Original Score, Sound, Animated Short, Live Short, Documentary Short, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Production Design—will now be announced off the air and edited into the telecast. Academy President David Rubin said that the extra time would allow for more “comedy, film clips and musical numbers” during the ceremony, according to Variety. (If it wasn’t already clear, this decision seems to be largely ratings-driven, given 2021’s ratings dropped 58 percent from 2020.) But the creatives behind these categories are understandably displeased, and protests are expected to take place during the ceremony, according to Deadline.
“There is a multitude of different organizations that are working together to find ways to circumvent having their voices clipped,” Cinema Audio Society president Karol Urban told Deadline. “As the Oscars get closer, more and more craft people are showing solidarity. If there’s anything positive that comes out of this very terrible situation this year, it’s that we are becoming more solidified as the day comes closer.”
Besides the protests, is there anything I should keep an eye out for during the show?
There’s so much drama around the Oscars every year, it’s tough to track the latest developments. But what makes this year’s Academy Awards particularly intriguing is a lack of all-but-guaranteed frontrunners in a number of categories, including Best Picture and Best Actress. If you have time to squeeze in a few movies before Sunday night, we’d recommend watching a few of the following so you’re not lost when the awards come rolling in: CODA, The Power of the Dog, Belfast, West Side Story, Spencer, The Worst Person In The World, The Lost Daughter, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Dune and/or Drive My Car.
As far as the evening’s celebrity events, we’re praying for red carpet stunners from attendees including Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, Zendaya, Serena and Venus Williams, Kristen Stewart, Zoë Kravitz, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Lupita N’yongo. Beyoncé, in particular, is set to perform her single “Believe” from King Richard—her first awards show performance since 2017’s Grammys. West Side Story Ariana Debose could make a historic win alongside Rita Moreno as the only female actresses to win Oscars for playing the same character, while, for the first time ever, the Best Picture slot could go to a film that debuted on a streaming service. For now, let’s all just pray we avoid another Envelopegate.
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