Come hell or high water, the 2019 Academy Awards will go on this Sunday.
This year’s embattled production has been beset by a series of missteps — from announcing and scrapping a popular-film category, naming and losing host Kevin Hart and reversing a widely unwelcome decision to announce some of the winners during commercial breaks. Despite all that, the now somewhat crowd-sourced television special will still proceed to honor achievements in film over the past year.
Whether the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences acknowledges its role in the blunders remains to be seen, but we’ve kept up with all the developments and break some of them down below.
What time is the show and where can I watch it?
The 91st Academy Awards will again be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and will be televised live on ABC at 5 p.m. Pacific. The show usually runs about three hours but can go over, so set those DVRs past 8 p.m. if you really want to know which film won best picture without getting a news alert — or a second news alert correcting a “La La Land”-like blunder.
Oscars-centric programming begins on the network much earlier. “On the Red Carpet at the Oscars” begins at 1:30 p.m. Pacific, and “Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live From the Red Carpet” kicks off at 3:30 p.m.
Who is hosting?
It’s a thankless job, but nobody’s gotta do it.
“The Academy Awards is going commando for the first time in 30 years,” as The Times’ Lorraine Ali puts it. There will be no big name steering the festivities for home audiences this year, which has many speculating that the show will lean heavily on musical performances — which weren’t immune to controversy either — and producers’ star-studded presenter lineup.
Comedian Kevin Hart was announced as host in December, only to swiftly step down from his duties after past homophobic jokes and tweets resurfaced. The film academy reportedly attempted to lure him back, but he refused, and it did not succeed in securing other hosts.
Any chance a well-known — let alone well-liked — host could buoy the telecast from last year’s all-time low ratings were scrapped when ABC confirmed last week that the show would proceed without an emcee. Not even assembling the Avengers — or most of them and Captain Marvel — could save telecast. Though, if the Grammys are to be followed, there’s a chance Michelle Obama could...
What we do know is that the show will be produced by Donna Gigliotti and longtime co-producer and director Glenn Weiss, the same guy who directed the telecast for the past three years and proposed to his girlfriend during the Emmys in September. Their production team includes six returning Oscars veterans, namely lighting director Robert Dickinson, who commemorates his 30th Oscars ceremony this year.
The film academy achieved a series of historical firsts when the nominees were announced in 24 categories last month. The British period comedy “The Favourite” and Alfonso Cuarón’s nostalgic “Roma” tied for the most nominations with 10 apiece. The latter made history by earning Netflix its first best-picture nomination.
Meanwhile, the beloved superhero film “Black Panther” also had a historic day, earning Marvel Studios its first best-picture nomination and became the first comics-based film to earn a nod in that field. Spike Lee scored his first nomination as a director for “BlacKkKlansman,” “Roma’s” Yalitza Aparicio became the first indigenous woman nominated for best actress and “The Wife” star Glenn Close became the most nominated living actor to never win an Oscar.
There were plenty of snubs and surprises too, but here’s a breakdown of some of the major categories:
- “A Star Is Born”
- “Black Panther”
- “Bohemian Rhapsody”
- “The Favourite”
- “Green Book”
- Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
- Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
- Adam McKay, “Vice”
- Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
- Paweł Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
- Christian Bale, “Vice”
- Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
- Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity's Gate”
- Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
- Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
- Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
- Glenn Close, “The Wife”
- Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
- Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
- Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Times film critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang weighed in with their predictions of what will win this year and what should win in 10 key categories. (Spoiler alert: “Black Panther” should win best picture, but “Roma” will likely take the top prize.)
Who is performing?
Producers have locked in a series of live performances to move along the telecast — performances that reportedly were off the table mere weeks ago.
Most of this year’s Oscar-nominated songs will be sung, and Bette Midler, plus Queen with Adam Lambert, have joined the performance roster.
The iconic English rock band, the subject of best-picture contender “Bohemian Rhapsody,” will open the show with Lambert on the mic. The film’s star, Rami Malek, is up for an Oscar for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.
Midler was revealed as the “surprise special guest” who will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” originally sung by Emily Blunt in Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns.”
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will duet on “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born,” likely changing up her Mother Monster-inspired outing at the Grammys earlier this month.
Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson will sing “I’ll Fight” from “RBG,” and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings will perform “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”
Unfortunately, “All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s Oscar-nominated duet from “Black Panther,” will not be performed during the telecast despite earlier reports indicating that all five nominated songs would be sung. It’s still unclear if and how the omission will be addressed.
Nominees, past winners, A-listers and up-and-comers will be taking the stage in lieu of a host this year.
As usual, the previous year’s acting winners will be among this year’s presenters, so expect to see Sam Rockwell, Frances McDormand, Allison Janney and Gary Oldman onstage again.
On Wednesday the academy announced that the best-picture nominees will be introduced by Barbra Streisand, Queen Latifah, Serena Williams and Congressman John Lewis, among others.
The rest of the presenters are below:
Bryan Tyree Henry
Samuel L. Jackson
Michael B. Jordan
There sure is! We’ve got plenty of coverage to keep you in the know throughout Oscars night. Visit latimes.com/oscars for the latest.