Hollywood’s awards season reaches its glittering climax on Sunday at the Oscars, with fairy tale romance The Shape of Water and dark crime comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri neck-and-neck in the race for the major statuettes.
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The ceremony caps a difficult few months during which the industry has declared war on the pervasive culture of sexual misconduct brought to light by the downfall of movie mogul and alleged serial sex attacker Harvey Weinstein.
As with the Golden Globes in January, the mood in Tinseltown on Sunday is expected to be celebratory but defiant as the film world’s A-listers speak out against dozens of showbiz people called out for predatory behavior since October.
Here’s all you need to know about the 90th Academy Awards to help you best prepare for a historic night.
Who is hosting the Oscars this year?
Comedian and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel will preside over the Oscars for the second consecutive time, with critics tuning in to see how he navigates the tricky balancing act of being funny without making light of the #MeToo victims.
Keeping the more than three-hour show — usually the most-watched non-sports telecast each year in the United States — upbeat in a year overshadowed by allegations of sexual assault will also be a tough challenge.
It may have been the most embarrassing flub in Oscars history, but don’t expect Kimmel to shy away from mining “Envelopegate” for comedy gold at the Academy’s expense.
The embarrassing mix-up at last year’s show saw the best picture Oscar incorrectly given to musical La La Land before the actual winner, coming-of-age drama Moonlight, was finally handed the prize.
Oscar watchers expect the mistake, which made for a chaotic end to the film industry’s biggest night, to be fodder for both Kimmel’s opening monologue and jokes from the presenters.
Where is the Oscars ceremony taking place?
The 90th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, on 4 March, 2018.
What time does the Oscars ceremony start?
The awards show telecast begins at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on 4 March in the US. But you’ll be able to catch all the live action at 6.30 am IST in India on 5 March on Star Movies, Star Movies HD and Star Movies Premiere HD in India.
Can I also watch the red carpet and pre-shows?
Yes, the red carpet show begins at 5.30am IST and the main awards ceremony will take place at 6.30am IST.
How do I watch the ceremony online?
Viewers in India can livestream the ceremony on Hotstar. American viewers can of course watch it live on ABC’s website or app.
From a quirky fairy tale romance to a dark comedy about a murder investigation, via a couple of coming-of-age tales and a horror satire, the contenders for the best picture Oscar offer audiences an array of genres and themes.
The Shape of Water, a Cold War-set story of love between a mute cleaning woman and a mystery merman-like creature, tops the nominations with 13, one shy of the record.
It is vying for best picture, best director and best actress for its star Sally Hawkins, while Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer are in the running for supporting actor and actress.
Tense World War II epic Dunkirk heads into Sunday’s gala in second place with eight nods, while Three Billboards picked up seven nods.
Buoyed by strong showings at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, Martin McDonagh’s film made a late charge to move back into pole position for the coveted best picture statuette.
Dunkirk was also a favorite in three races — although all technical categories — while Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour and Pixar animation Coco were expected to pick up two statuettes each.
The Shape of Water and Three Billboards will vie for best picture honors with seven other films, including Dunkirk and Darkest Hour, and coming-of-age movies Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird.
Others in the coveted top category are dark satire Get Out, Daniel Day-Lewis’s apparent final film Phantom Thread — he has announced his retirement — and Pentagon Papers thriller The Post.
McDormand, who has dominated the awards season, is expected to bag her second best actress statuette with no serious challenge from Hawkins, Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) or Meryl Streep (The Post), who notched her record 21st nomination.
For best actor, Gary Oldman is one of the surest bets of the night for his acclaimed performance as Churchill in Darkest Hour.