Oscars tonight: timetable, predictions and all you need to know

The 92nd Academy Awards have finally arrived – here’s what you need to know, when you need to know it by and who (we think) will win the key prizes

It only seems a few days since the Baftas bored everyone rigid impressed everyone with the sophistication of their choices – and that’s because it is. There’s normally a fortnight’s gap between the British and US yearly shindigs, but the American show – the big dog of the awards season – is two weeks earlier than usual, forcing everyone else to shuffle up.

It seems as if it will be the least exciting Oscars in living memory, with all the top awards seemingly locked up months ago. Still, the Oscars can always throw a curve or two if the mood strikes it.

The run-up hasn’t been all that bad for the assembled films. Most of the objections have been about who and what isn’t included: no female directors, too few BAME nominees, not enough politics. But the feeling is that the Oscars has just about managed to keep the worst at bay. The nearest to a controversial film is Joker, which has collected flak for its portrayal of mental illness as well as its supposed apologia for incel violence. But its billion-dollar haul at the box office is a protection against too much grief, and Oscar watchers know that the more popular the nominated films are, the more people watch. TV ratings are what keeps the Academy Awards alive.

So let’s go to work. Below you’ll find the timetable of the night, some recommended pre-game reading and our predictions.

Timetable

It all kicks off on Sunday 9 February, in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The live telecast of the ceremony starts at 5pm (PST)/8pm (EST) – that translates to 1am (GMT) on Monday in London and 12 noon (AEST) on Monday in Sydney. You can watch it live on ABC in the US, Sky TV in the UK, and Channel 7 in Australia. Red carpet junkies can start watching hours earlier, from 2pm (PST)/5pm (EST)/11pm (GMT)/9am (AEST) – on E!.

Preparation

• Check out the full list of nominations.

• Read our writers’ brilliantly convincing cases for all nine best picture shouts.

• Mull over Stuart Heritage’s mind-melting Oscars quiz.

• Get the lowdown on those short film nominations you might never have heard of otherwise.

• Take a moment to peruse the gender gap.

• Get a load of the nominees in their luncheon party gear.

• Learn about the inside machinations that may or may not sweep your favourite to victory.

• Revel in the glory that is Brad Pitt.

Final predictions

Let’s admit it: we’re sick of this. Seems as if everywhere you turn you’re tripping over another pile of predictions, guesses, or bookies’ odds. Peter Bradshaw has had his say and the Observer’s team of critics have put their two-penn’orth in. Let’s just throw a few darts at the wall one last time.

Best picture 1917
Best director Sam Mendes, 1917
Best actor Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Best actress Renée Zellweger, Judy
Best supporting actor Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best supporting actress Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Best original screenplay Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best adapted screenplay Jojo Rabbit
Best documentary Honeyland
Best original song Stand Up, Harriet
Best animated film Klaus
Best international film Parasite

What to look out for

• The Guardian’s crack team are on the case as ever. Your MC on the liveblog is the maestro of mirth, the titan of Twitter, your friend and mine: Stuart Heritage. (He might even be doing a spot of Oscars bingo, so eyes down for that.) Benjamin Lee is on the ground in Los Angeles, while Hadley Freeman will be Audrey Hepburning her way round the post-show party circuit, as per usual.

• No Oscars host(s) again. It’s becoming quite the tradition. Whether that will mean less or more of those stupid bits designed to go viral on social media is to be determined. As is whether anyone will say anything actually funny.

• A surprise, any surprise. All of the big awards, particularly for acting, have marched in lockstep all the way from the Globes onwards, and we are expecting the same at the Oscars. All together now: Joaquin, Renée, Brad, Laura.

• If, as expected, 1917 nabs best picture and director, we might feel a fluttering of national pride over here in the UK. Not quite the British-are-coming levels, but, you know. Anything to distract us from the fact that we, as a country, are sinking fast under the weight of our post-imperial delusions.

• The in memoriam segment is always a bit sad; two recent major departees may cause attendees to choke up more than usual: Kirk Douglas and Kobe Bryant. It’ll be interesting to see what the Oscars have got planned.

• Joaquin Phoenix took a stand at the Baftas over diversity; since he’s considered a shoo-in to take home the best actor Oscar, we can expect a few more fireworks at the podium.

• The dopey acceptance speech is always a classic: Renée Zellweger has all the attributes to produce a zinger when and if her name is called.

• We don’t know yet who will present the best director award, but let’s hope someone will stick the boot into the all-male lineup – à la Natalie Portman at the 2018 Globes.

Guardian film

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