Movies and the people who make them will be celebrated when the 94th Academy Awards take place this weekend, marking the official end of the 2021-22 film awards circuit, previously known as the Oscar season from hell.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of Sunday’s ceremony.
What time is the show and where to watch it?
As usual, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the Oscars, which will air worldwide live on ABC starting at 5 pm Pacific on Sunday.. The ceremony will be held in Los Angeles at the Dolby Theater at Ovation Hollywood, formerly the Hollywood and Highland Center, and the telecast will be carried in more than 200 territories.
The show will also be viewable on streaming services like Hulu Live TV, YouTubeTV, AT&T TV and FuboTV, as well as on abc.com. and the ABC app if users can authenticate their provider.
After going hostless for three years — twice during the COVID-19 pandemic — the film academy appears to be making up for lost time by tapping three hosts to emcee the latest installment. Actor-comedians Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes and actor Regina Hall will be doing the honors, even though the hosting job is widely considered a thankless gig.
How will the telecast be different this year?
Sparking controversy among Hollywood’s heavy-hitters, part of the show will be overhauled in an effort to boost the broadcast’s flagging ratings. Eight of the 23 categories will be cut from the live ceremony after the show hit an all-time low in 2021. And therein lies the rub.
First-time Oscars producer Will Packer (“The Photograph,” “Girls Trip,” “Straight Outta Compton”) and the film academy pushed through the frowned-upon decision to present the awards for the three short-film categories and five technical categories — film editing, original score, production design, sound and makeup and hairstyling — beforehand and then edit them into the live show.
The decision prompted a backlash from the guilds and industry organizations representing those groups. It also raised more than a few eyebrows when the academy introduced two informal, fan-voted categories to gin up interest and make the show appeal to “broad swaths of the public” without alienating the nominated artists and the Oscars’ diehard fans.
One such campaign — #OscarsCheerMoment — solicits cinephiles’ submissions of all-time favorite movie moments that spurred audiences to burst into cheers in theaters. (Winning scenes will be showcased during the show.)
After scrapping the controversial proposal for a “popular film” category a few years back, the film academy also opened up voting to Twitter users who can select their favorite movie of 2021 under the #OscarsFanFavorite hashtag. The film that earns the most votes will be recognized during the telecast regardless of whether it received an Oscar nomination. (Looking at you, “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”)
The show will pay homage to the James Bond franchise and “The Godfather,” which turns 50 this year, and there probably will still be plenty of presenter banter, a few preshot packages and long-winded speeches. Packer has pleaded good-naturedly with nominees to be prepared and concise, though.
“Nobody believes that you thought there was no way you’d win so you had nothing prepared — just going to be honest with you,” he told the nominees at the nominees luncheon earlier this month. “You’ve got 20% chance of winning — that’s good odds in this town.”
Thirty-eight feature films are in contention for this year’s Academy Awards. Jane Campion’s western “The Power of the Dog” has been the awards season juggernaut and leads the pack with 12 nominations, including best picture and director.
Denis Villeneuve’s epic sci-fi adaptation “Dune” trails with 10 nods, along with “Belfast,” “CODA” (a surprise winner at the Screen Actors and Producers Guild Awards), “Don’t Look Up,” “Drive My Car” ,” “King Richard,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Nightmare Alley” and “West Side Story”
In addition to the best picture nods, filmmakers Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”), Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”), Campion (“The Power of the Dog”), Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”) and Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”) are nominated for best director.
Here’s the breakdown for the lead acting categories:
See the full list here.
Who are the presenters?
So far Oscars presenters include:
- Halle Bailey
- Stephanie Beatriz
- Josh Brolin
- Ruth E. Carter
- Sean “Diddy” Combs
- Kevin Costner
- Jamie Lee Curtis
- DJ Khaled
- Jacob Elordi
- Jennifer Garner
- Jake Gyllenhaal
- Tiffany Haddish
- Woody Harrelson
- Tony Hawk
- Anthony Hopkins
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Lily James
- Daniel Kaluuya
- Zo Kravitz
- Mila Kunis
- Lady Gaga
- John Leguizamo
- Simu Liu
- Rami Malek
- Shawn Mendes
- Jason Momoa
- Bill Murray
- Lupita Nyong’o
- Elliot Page
- Rosie Perez
- Tyler Perry
- Chris Rock
- Tracee Ellis Ross
- Jill Scott
- Naomi Scott
- JK Simmons
- Kelly Slater
- Wesley Snipes
- Uma Thurman
- John Travolta
- Shaun White
- Serena Williams
- Venus Williams
- Yuh-Jung Youn
- Rachel Zegler
Earlier this week, there was a question of whether “West Side Story” star Zegler would participate, but on Wednesday the actor was finally invited to be a presenter.
The ceremony will also include performances of the Oscar-nominated original songs, which will be sung by Beyoncé, Billie Eilish and Finneas, Sebastián Yatra and Reba McEntire.
Bey will sing “Be Alive” from “King Richard,” Eilish and Finneas will perform “No Time to Die” from the eponymous 007 film, Yatra will sing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Dos Oruguitas” from “Encanto” and McEntire will sing Diane Warren’s “Somehow You Do” from “Four Good Days.”
“Down to Joy” by Van Morrison from “Belfast” is also among the nominees but won’t be performed during the broadcast because Morrison is touring and unable to attend the show.
If he scores an Academy Award on Sunday, Miranda will join the rarefied class of EGOT winners — industry stars who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award.
An all-star band consisting of Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, percussionist and singer Sheila E., pianist Robert Glasper and the show’s music director, Adam Blackstone, is slated to perform throughout the show.
Are we pretending there’s no pandemic? And a war in Ukraine?
Yes? And no?
Some have speculated that the 2022 guest list would be scaled back amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In February, the academy announced it wouldn’t require proof of vaccination for attendees — except performers and presenters, who will need to test negative. Nominees and their dates will be asked to provide proof of vaccination and two negative PCR tests.
As for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conflict has been a hot topic, and acceptance speeches at a handful of awards ceremonies in the lead-up to the Oscars have mentioned it.
The Academy Awards, usually the most viewed of all the awards shows, will be the largest platform to make a political statement. And that includes the hosts. If it were up to co-host Schumer, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, a fellow actor, would be part of the show.