The past year has caused significant uncertainty in the film industry with restrictions on filming, cinemas closing and many in-person events cancelled. Despite the many challenges, there is still lots to celebrate in Hollywood. So far, awards season has (mostly) gone off without a hitch, with the Golden Globes and the Grammys hosting record-breaking events. Thankfully, the highlight of awards season is almost upon us: The Academy Awards.
This year marks the 93rd Academy Awards, and despite all of the challenges, the event is still going ahead. Like most events, it's going to be a little different to previous years. So here is everything you need to know about this year's Oscars and what's to come.
Where can I watch the Oscars?
There has already been controversy around the logistics of the Oscars awards ceremony, and producers still haven’t ironed out all of the details. But here’s what we know so far.
First things first, the Oscars will take place on 25th April. It usually takes place in late February or early March, but like many other events, it was postponed this year to account for theatre closures and travel restrictions. It will air on ABC in the United States. In the UK, Sky Cinema typically air coverage of the event on TV. If you don't have a Sky subscription, Sky's coverage will also stream online via Now TV.
The ceremony will be held in the usual venue: the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Rumours are circulating about whether some parts will happen on a live stream like has been done with other awards shows this year. Despite initially insisting nominees participate in person or not at all, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is now planning to give attendees the option to participate remotely.
What will the event look like?
Many details about the event are still up in the air at this stage. Producers are reportedly considering having nominees and presenters take turns within the theatre, sanitising between speeches, to adhere to Covid-19 safety measures. The exact format of the event is yet to be publicly announced by producers. However, it's safe to say they're still facing challenges!
The one thing we know for sure is that there won't be a host for the ceremony. This marks the third consecutive Oscars ceremony without a host after Kevin Hart ducked out of hosting duties last minute following controversy around his use of anti-gay slurs. They plan to continue the format of having several presenters, who introduce other presenters to give out the awards.
The Record-Breaking Moments
The Academy Awards has already broken several records this year, particularly around diversity. More women have been nominated for Oscars than in any previous year, with 70 women receiving a total of 76 nominations. Two women are up for Best Director for the first time: Chloé Zhao for Nomadland and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman.
There is also a record number of non-white nominees across the acting categories. Viola Davis’ nomination for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom makes her the most nominated Black actress in Oscars history. She is the only Black actress to be nominated in the Best Lead Actress category twice: for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Help. Riz Ahmed has also become the first Muslim nominee for Best Lead Actor for his performance in Sound of Metal.
Top Films of the Year
Netflix’s Mank is leading the pack this year, with ten nominations. It also scored the most nominations at the Golden Globes in February but failed to win a single award, leading many to question its fate at the Oscars. Behind Mank, with six nominations each, are Nomadland, The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7.
These seven films make up most of the nominations for the coveted Best Picture award. Promising Young Woman added as the eighth nomination.
What to Watch Now
Netflix broke the record this year for the most nominations for a streaming service, securing 35 nominations. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, there’s plenty to get your teeth into now. Mank, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom are all available on Netflix. For documentary fans, Netflix is also streaming Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution and My Octopus Teacher, both nominated for Oscars in the documentary category.
You can also watch Hillbilly Elegy on Netflix, which has received extremely mixed reactions. The notorious Golden Raspberry Awards, which recognise the worst films released each year, nominated it for Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and Worst Supporting Actress for Glenn Close. However, Close was also nominated for an Oscar for the same role, and it received a nomination for its makeup and hairstyling. You'll have to decide for yourself whether the fans or the critics are right.
Disney+ have several Oscar-nominated but family-friendly films on offer. Soul has already won several awards for animated films and has a star-studded cast, including Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton and Richard Ayoade. Onward, a heart-warming story of two elf-brothers on a quest to meet their father, is also available on Disney+, along with the long-awaited live-action remake of Mulan.
Amazon Prime has four nominated films available. Sound of Metal and One Night in Miami, which have already received widespread critical acclaim. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is there if you're a mockumentary fan, or Time if you prefer a more classic documentary style.
Due to the pandemic, more Oscar-nominated films than ever are available to stream from the comfort of your own home. You have plenty of time to become a movie buff before the lockdown is fully lifted, whichever streaming services you use!