Cynthia Erivo, playing the title role in “Harriet,” is the only person of color to receive an Oscar nomination in a major category. (Courtesy Focus Features)

Oscars 2020: Everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s show

There’s no host, and few people of color nominated

By Christi Carras

Los Angeles Times

Oscar Sunday is nearly here and the 2020 race is shaping up to be quite a showdown between more traditional awards darlings (period drama “1917”) and history-making entries (South Korean thriller “Parasite”). Though the months leading up to the ceremony have been relatively calm compared to 2019, the motion picture academy still managed to cause a ruckus by snubbing women and artists of color in major categories and tweeting a confusing sample ballot of winners. Here’s a complete guide to this weekend’s Academy Awards.

What time is the show, and where can I watch it?

The 92nd Academy Awards air live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles at 5 p.m. on ABC. While the run time for the show is about three hours, passionate speeches and other only-on-live-TV variables are likely to stretch the broadcast, so adjust your DVRs accordingly. A livestream of the program will also be available in select markets on ABC’s website and app — accessible only with valid TV provider login credentials. To achieve full immersion in the day’s festivities, viewers can tune in to the pre-show, “Oscars Live on the Red Carpet,” beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Who’s the host?

No one. After 2019’s host-free experiment merited a ratings spike, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said in January that the network planned on “repeating what worked for us last year.” The family-facing platform scrapped the traditional emcee format for the previous ceremony after its initial comedian of choice, Kevin Hart, came under fire after homophobic jokes resurfaced and walked away from the coveted gig.

What’s nominated?

The film academy reignited familiar criticism after announcing the nominees in 24 categories last month. Todd Phillips’ dark comic-book adaptation “Joker” led the field with 11 nominations, including best picture. While 2019’s nominees were uncharacteristically diverse, this year’s mostly white acting categories have sparked backlash reminiscent of the 2015-16 #OscarsSoWhite controversy. And again, not a single woman was nominated for director. “Harriet” star Cynthia Erivo was the only actor of color to receive a nomination in a year that included critically acclaimed performances from Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”), Awkwafina (“The Farewell”) and the cast of “Parasite.” Despite getting shut out in the acting categories, Bong Joon Ho’s South Korean juggernaut scored six Oscar nods, including best picture _ a rare feat for an international film. Sam Mendes’ World War I drama, “1917,” Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic, “The Irishman” and Quentin Tarantino’s L.A. love letter, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” also fared well, racking up 10 nominations apiece. Here’s a link to the full list:

Who’s likely to win?

Los Angeles Times film critics Justin Chang and Kenneth Turan were split on the best picture race, with Turan favoring “1917” and Chang championing “Parasite.” Chang also deemed “Parasite” his “should win” selection, while Turan bestowed that distinction on “Little Women.”

Who’s performing?

Queen Elsa herself, Idina Menzel, will return to the Oscars telecast six years after she wowed with her live rendition of “Let It Go,” which won the Academy Award for original song in 2014. This year, she’ll sing her “Frozen 2” power ballad “Into the Unknown.” Other performances include all five original-song nominees: Erivo with “Stand Up” from “Harriet,” Elton John with “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman,” Chrissy Metz with “I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough” and Randy Newman with “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4.” The broadcast also features debut Oscars performances from newly minted Grammy winner Billie Eilish (who’s recording a James Bond theme song) and Grammys veteran Janelle Monae, who appeared in the movie “ Harriet.”

Who’s presenting?

Per tradition, all four 2019 Oscar-winning actors — Rami Malek, Olivia Colman, Regina King and Mahershala Ali — have been invited back. The lineup also includes actors featured in 2020 best picture nominees, such as Zazie Beetz (“Joker”), Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”), Timothee Chalamet (“Little Women”) and George MacKay (“1917”) as well as Utkarsh Ambudkar, Salma Hayek, Brie Larson, Spike Lee, Ray Romano, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Penelope Cruz, Beanie Feldstein, Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Zack Gottsagen, Mindy Kaling, Diane Keaton, Shia LaBeouf, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Keanu Reeves, Maya Rudolph, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Marie Tran, Sigourney Weaver, Kristen Wiig, Jane Fonda, Josh Gad, Tom Hanks, Oscar Isaac, Sandra Oh, Natalie Portman and Chris Rock.

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