The 93rd Academy Awards are almost here. And this year might be the celebration’s strangest year yet. The Oscars take place today, April 25, starting from 5 p.m. PT. The 93rd Academy Awards will look a little different this year. After delaying the show by two months, the Academy also changed awards eligibility, accommodating films released in 2020 through to February 2021. Movies released straight to digital platforms like HBO Max are also eligible for Oscars.
This, of course, is because of the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout last year, movie theaters closed, the production timelines on many movies shifted, and numerous studios opted to push back their 2020 films into 2021 (and beyond). Because of the delays, the Academy chose to move back the entire award show by a few months to give more movies a chance to premiere. The organization didn’t release its full list of nominees until 13 months after last year’s ceremony.
This — and other logistical nightmares that come with planning an event of this scale during a global pandemic — have left many wondering what the award ceremony will look like this year. On Sunday, viewers will finally get to see how the socially distanced ceremony will play out.
Oscars date and start time
The Oscars are spread over two locations this year: Los Angeles Union Station and its usual stomping ground, Dolby Theater. Only nominees, their guest and presenters have been given the green light to attend. Nominees who don’t attend won’t be allowed to Zoom in. Plus, since the show is a televised event, guests won’t have to wear a mask while the cameras are rolling.
US: The Oscars start at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 25.
UK: The Oscars start at 1 a.m. GMT on Monday, April 26.
Australia: The Oscars start at 10 a.m. AEST on Monday, April 26.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT THE OSCARS THIS YEAR?
Somewhat surprisingly — given that the pandemic is still very much a thing in Los Angeles County — the Oscars will remain an in-person event, with no participation via Zoom allowed. Still, the producers say they are taking precautions to keep everyone safe. The award show will broadcast from two locations, the Dolby Theater and Union Station, to keep attendees spread out.
This year’s show will likely be a whole lot weirder than typical ones, too. The producers — Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher, and Steven Soderbergh — have repeatedly said that they are approaching the ceremony as if it were a movie. What that means precisely remains to be seen.
One major change we do know about is that the musical performances for Best Original Song will take place before the actual award ceremony. If you want to catch the performances live, make sure you tune in for the pre-show, Oscars: Into the Spotlight.
HOW CAN I STREAM THE OSCARS?
As in previous years, you can watch the Oscars live on ABC. There are a few ways you can do this. Aside from tuning your TV to ABC, anyone with an eligible pay-TV package can stream the show via the ABC app or the ABC website. Both require that you log in with a valid cable or satellite TV subscription.
Subscribers of AT&T TV, FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV can also stream the Oscars live. People who subscribe to the standard tiers of Hulu will be able to watch the show on demand on the following day, Monday, April 26.
There’s always the option to pick up an over-the-air TV antenna, too. It’ll give you access to whatever local broadcast stations are within range of you — which usually includes the big four networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) — for $20-30.
WHO ARE THE 2021 OSCAR NOMINEES?
Due to the pandemic, nominees from streaming platforms dominated the categories. Among the selections, Nomadland is favored to win some of the most prestigious awards of the night, including Best Picture and Best Director. The team behind Minari picked up an impressive six nominations, including ones for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. And the late Chadwick Boseman is currently the favorite for Best Actor for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
WHO IS HOSTING THE OSCARS?
The Oscars haven’t had a host since 2018. This year will continue that new practice — the academy has enlisted a number of Hollywood stars to present awards and other segments during the show: Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Bong Joon Ho, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Renée Zellweger and Zendaya.
While these are the celebrities slated to appear, we still don’t really know what the producers mean by “cast.” It seems like Soderbergh might have something else up his sleeve.
Whether it feels like a smooth ceremony remains to be seen. So if you’re interested checking out how everything pans out, you can watch it this Sunday.
How to watch the Oscars without cable
The Oscars will air on ABC in the US. To stream online, there are a couple of options:
ABC is streaming the live broadcast of the Oscars on the ABC website, but only to specific cities and only after you sign in with a participating pay TV provider — typically a cable company, satellite provider or livestreaming service.
Another option is Locast, which streams local broadcasters, including ABC, in certain large US cities, for free. And of course, you could always use an antenna to try to pick up the ABC station in your area (DVR optional).
If you subscribe to a live TV streaming service that carries ABC in your city, you can use it to watch the Oscars too. AT&T TV, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV all carry ABC in most US cities. All of them offer a seven-day free trial, so you can sign up now and cancel after the ceremony if you want. Note that Sling TV, Fubo TV, AT&T and Philo don’t carry ABC at all.
AT&T TV (formerly AT&T TV Now and DirecTV Now)
AT&T TV’s basic, $70-a-month package includes ABC. You can use its channel lookup tool to see if you get a live feed of Fox and the other local networks in your ZIP code.
Hulu with Live TV
Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes ABC, but check to see which live channels Hulu offers in your area.
YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes ABC. Plug in your ZIP code on its channel lineup page to see what live, local networks are available where you live.
Australia: While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, we’re expecting the Oscars to air on Seven like last year.
UK: You can watch the Oscars using a Sky Cinema Pass with Now TV (a seven-day free trial is offered).
Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.
Who are the Oscar nominees?
David Fincher’s Mank leads this year’s Oscar nominations with 10. It faces stiff competition in the best picture category from awards darling Nomadland, directed by Chloé Zhao. Both she and Emerald Fennell, who’s behind the haunting revenge thriller Promising Young Woman, are nominated for best director, making this the first time two women have been nominated in the category in the same year. It’s exciting stuff. Check out the full list of nominations here.
Is there an Oscars red carpet?
It’ll be a much smaller red carpet event this year, but we might see a few interesting face-mask-and-outfit-coordinated combos if the Grammys are anything to go by (although you won’t see nominees wearing masks during the show). Based on last year’s programming, you’ll be able to watch the red carpet on the ABC site or app from 5:30 p.m. ET, the Academy’s official Twitter from 6:30 p.m. ET, or the E network, available on many live TV streaming services, from 5 p.m. ET.
Who’s hosting the Oscars?
No one! The hostless trend began in 2019 when Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting duties amid criticism of his past insensitive tweets. The 2020 show went without a host and the 2021 show will do the same.
Who’s presenting the Oscars?
Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Bong Joon-ho, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Renée Zellweger and Zendaya will be handing out awards.