After lots of anticipation and speculation, the 88th Academy Awards are here! The show will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, with stars beginning to walk the red carpet at around 7pm, and the ceremony kicking off at 8:30pm eastern time.
The ceremony comes amid a fair bit of controversy and it will have some pretty big questions to answer too.
For the second consecutive year, all the acting nominees are white. Last year, the fact that all 20 acting nominees were white sparked a huge firestorm of criticism – so much so that it spawned the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite and host Neil Patrick Harris kicked off the 2015 show by welcoming Hollywood’s “best and whitest.”
After all of that, it happened again in 2016, with well-received films like Creed and Straight Outta Compton mostly ignored – the only nominations they managed to get went to white people for Best Support Actor (Sylvester Stallone) and Best Original Screenplay for Straight Outta Compton.
John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, eviscerated the Oscars and Hollywood whitewashing in his most recent segment, calling this year’s nominees “whiter than a Yeti in a snowstorm fighting Tilda Swinton.” He also responded to the counterclaim that “Hollywood just doesn’t provide enough good roles” for non-white actors, debunking it with a slew of clips that reveal when there are roles for people of color, most of the time, they’re played by white actors.
Ironically, the show will be hosted by black comedian Chris Rock. Do you think he might have something to say about all this? He’s not exactly one to hold back.
The next most talked about Oscars subject is arguably: “Will Leo finally take home the gold?”
Leonardio DiCaprio has been nominated five times, but he’s never won an Oscar. Now at 41, with a long list of outstanding movies behind him, he’s more than due for his performance as tough-as-nails fur trapper Hugh Glass in The Revenant. He was amazing in the part, and after taking the win at the Golden Globes, he’s also a heavy favorite.
There are also a few exciting races to watch. Best picture is often one of the night’s most predictable categories, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case as of late. In fact, at this point, it’s a split between Spotlight, The Big Short and The Revenant, though it’s still really anyone’s race to lose.
The Best Supporting Actress race is also anyone’s game. Despite critics fawning over Rooney Mara’s performance in Carol, she’s failed to actually do anything on the awards’ circuit. The more intense race is now between BAFTA winner Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs and SAG winner Alicia Vikander in Danish Girl.
Don’t count newcomer Saoirse Ronan of Brooklyn out for Best Actress, as she could surprise us all and beat out Room‘s Brie Larson.
Tune in tonight at 7pm EST on ABC to see how ceremony unfolds. Be sure to follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss a moment!