Hollywood Reporter's Guide to the 2018 Oscars
What to know about Sunday's show.
The 90th annual Academy Awards will takes place March 4 — one year after an incorrectly announced best picture winner dominated post-show headlines. But this Oscars ceremony is significant not just for last year's slip-up: With the strong presence of African-American-created films like Get Out and Mudbound, it is also a year of firsts.
How to Watch
Held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, the ceremony will be broadcast on ABC starting at 5 p.m. PT on Sunday, March 4. You can also stream it live on the Oscars website. Red carpet coverage begins at 3:30 PT, and Pret-a-Reporter will have everything you need to know about the fashion and pre-awards intrigue.
Who to Watch
Jimmy Kimmel will host the Oscars for the second year in a row, making him the first person to host consecutively since Billy Crystal in 1997 and 1998. It remains to be seen how Kimmel, who has been outspoken about political issues like healthcare over the past year, will address the rising prominence of the Time's Up movement and of the people, predominantly women, coming forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood.
Awards presenters include Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name), Oscar Isaac (The Last Jedi), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), and Zendaya (The Greatest Showman).
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, singer and Grammy nominee Sufjan Stevens described his feelings about attending the Oscars like this: “If I can meet Mary J. Blige, I will go for that alone.” Now, in a rare move, Stevens, Blige and the three other nominees for best original song will perform on the same stage during this year’s ceremony — Mary J. Blige with “Mighty River” (Mudbound), Common and Andra Day with “Stand Up for Something” (Marshall), Keala Settle with "This Is Me" (The Greatest Showman), Sufjan Stevens with “Mystery of Love” (Call Me by Your Name) and Gael García Bernal, Natalia LaFourcade, and Miguel with “Remember Me” (Coco).
Going into Oscar night, fantasy-romance The Shape of Water leads with an impressive 13 nominations, followed by Dunkirk with eight. The best picture battle will be hard fought, with The Shape of Water vying against Christopher Nolan's war drama Dunkirk, Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour, newspaper drama The Post, gay romance Call Me by Your Name, the Frances McDormand-led Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread, Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird and Jordan Peele's anti-racism horror film, Get Out.
Get Out is one to watch. Its sleeper success and timely message propelled it into the Oscars, but it remains to be seen whether that momentum will carry it up to the podium. Get Out's four nominations include best picture, best director, best original screenplay and best actor for Daniel Kaluuya.
On the acting side, Meryl Streep beat her own record with her 21st nomination for her starring role in The Post, though this year McDormand is favored to receive her second best actress win for Three Billboards. In the best actor category, Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) is poised to take home the prize, but he is up against veteran Daniel Day-Lewis — who is entering retirement — and buzzed-about newcomers like Kaluuya (Get Out) and Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name).
But some of the most exciting nominees are not up for the highest-profile awards. Here are a few more to watch.
Cinematography: Mudbound cinematographer Rachel Morrison made history this year as the first woman ever to receive a cinematography nomination. “It’s exciting, and if it means more women start shooting, then that’s the best thing that could possibly come from this," Morrison, who also worked on Black Panther and Dope, told THR. Also up for the award is Richard Deakins, a veteran of movies like The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo and Skyfall who — despite a whopping fourteen nominations — has never won an Oscar.
Dee Rees: Mudbound writer and director Dee Rees, who was snubbed in the best director category, is the first black woman to be nominated for best original screenplay. Rees has made numerous critically acclaimed films, including Bessie (2015) and Pariah (2011), but this is her first time at the Oscars.
Daniela Vega: Not only will Vega become the first openly transgender person to present at the Oscars this year, but the film in which she stars, A Fantastic Woman, is the favorite to win best foreign-language film. A Fantastic Woman is one of the few films to star a transgender actor who is not in the process of transitioning — instead, Vega's character must grapple with grief and discrimination in the wake of her boyfriend's shocking death.
Blige: The nine-time Grammy winner is the first person ever to receive both acting and song nominations for the same film. Blige's work on Mudbound earned her best supporting actress and best original song nominations.
Directors: If Peele wins best director for Get Out, he will become the first black director to take home the award. He is already the first black artist to receive simultaneous directing, writing, and producing nominations. Also up for the award is Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), who is only the fifth woman to receive a best director nomination and, if she wins, would become the second to do so. But the two face stiff competition in the form of Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), and Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread).
Though not a best director nominee, Yance Ford is also making directing history — his documentary Strong Island has made him the first openly trans director to earn an Oscar nomination.
How exactly presenters, nominees and prominent attendees will address the increasing numbers of women speaking out against sexual harassment in Hollywood remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Unlike at the Golden Globes, Time's Up organizers are not asking attendees to wear black in solidarity with the movement. They are, however, requesting that celebrities wear Time's Up pins.
At the Golden Globes, the most memorable moments were the unplanned ones, including Natalie Portman's introduction to the nominees of the best director category, in which she ad-libbed, "And here are the all-male nominees." Yet in an interview with The New York Times, the president of entertainment at ABC, which is broadcasting the show, noted, "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.”
Another thing to watch: How many men will address the movement? Many viewers of the Golden Globes were left dismayed that host Seth Meyers was virtually the only man to mention Time's Up onstage, but it isn't clear whether that will change during the Oscars.