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Oscars 2018: how to watch and what to expect

The Shape of Water leads the nominations with 13. But which movie will win Best Picture is anyone’s guess.

90th Annual Academy Awards Nominee Luncheon - Inside Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

The Oscars are upon us once again, with last year’s host, Jimmy Kimmel, returning to emcee the 90th annual Academy Awards ceremony, airing Sunday, March 4, at 8 pm EST on ABC.

The Oscars will conclude an awards season where the only certainty is uncertainty in the race for the film industry’s biggest prize. This year there’s no clear frontrunner for Best Picture, as The Shape of Water, Dunkirk, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri have all taken home hardware at other recent awards ceremonies, while there are whispers that Get Out might pull off an upset.

While Best Picture seems to be a toss-up, the other major categories do have strong frontrunners, like Guillermo del Toro in the Best Director race. Heading into the night, del Toro’s The Shape of Water leads the nominations with 13, followed by Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk with eight.

One question mark going into year’s ceremony has little to do with who wins the night’s biggest trophies. Hollywood has, since accounts detailing Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse were published in October, been at the epicenter of the #MeToo movement and the rampant culture of sexual harassment and abuse that spurred it. Consequently, awards shows where celebrities, actors, and actresses gather have become platforms for protest and opportunities to gauge how the industry is (or isn’t) trying to do better.

The Oscars are no exception, though the award show’s producers seem to want a show that’s more about celebrating movies and entertaining people than about making a statement on #MeToo. Discussing this year’s show with the New York Times, ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey explained:

We certainly want to honor and respect [the] Time’s Up [campaign] and allow that message to be heard. But we’re trying to make it more planned than spur of the moment — it has its moment and then doesn’t feel like it overshadows the artists and films being honored. ... I would love for every award recipient to not feel like they have to acknowledge it independently.

It’ll be fascinating to see which actors and actresses do or don’t decide to weigh in. (For his part, Kimmel has said that his hosting duties will indeed involve addressing the topic.)

The ceremony could also yield a number of history-making records and milestones.

Mudbound writer-director Dee Rees is the second black woman ever to be nominated for screenwriting, and the film’s cinematographer, Rachel Morrison, is the first woman to be nominated in the Best Cinematography category. Get Out’s Jordan Peele is the first black filmmaker ever nominated for directing, writing, and producing in the same year. And Lady Bird’s Greta Gerwig is nominated for Best Director, making her only the fifth woman in Oscars history to be nominated in the category.

Here’s how you can watch this year’s Oscars to see how the awards shake out.

How to watch the 2018 Oscars

When: Sunday, March 4, at 8 pm EST/5 pm PST. ABC’s red-carpet coverage begins at 5:30 pm EST/3:30 pm PST. E! will also cover the Oscars red carpet, starting at 5 pm EST.

Where: Live on ABC. Alternatively, you can live-stream the ceremony at or on the ABC app, provided you have a cable TV provider login and are in one of the following markets: Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, or San Francisco.

Several subscription-based TV streaming services, including Hulu Live, YouTube TV, Sling TV, DirecTV, and PlayStation Vue, will also stream the Oscars via ABC.

Host: Jimmy Kimmel returns as host for the second year in a row. There will probably be jokes about last year’s Moonlight versus La La Land debacle.

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