How to Watch the Oscars: A Guide for Lazy People


Insofar as you buy into the hype, the Oscars are the crème de la crème of awards season. They fall later than most (best for last), garner sky-high sartorial expectations (U BETTER LEWK GOOD) and, most importantly, they’re the one to win (if your “acclaimed” movie isn’t covered in golden laurel leaves then forget it).

They’re also technically called the Academy Awards but, as the popular theory goes, 1931 Academy Award librarian Margaret Herrick used to call the statues Oscars because of their likeness to her uncle and it stuck. (I wish I was Margaret’s uncle because that’s a really good claim to fame.)

Should you wish to partake in spectating, here are all the deets:


The 89th Oscars are this Sunday, February 26th at 5:30 p.m. PST (8:30 p.m. EST) but red-carpet coverage starts 90 minutes earlier at 4 p.m. PST (7 p.m. EST).

The show itself usually runs around three hours, so depending on how scary your Sundays are, you might have just found a full five-hour escape worth its weight in the backstage craft services no one will be eating.


They’ll be held at Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, not that you’re invited (or are you? WHO’S READING THIS? DM me).


The Oscars are hosted by ABC. That means there are three ways to watch and three ways only (heaven forbid this shit be easier).

1. TV! Turn on your cable, go to a channel called ABC and then point your pupils at it.

2. STREAM! Turn on your computer and login to (this only will work if you have a cable package or know someone who does that isn’t your ex) and stream that shit. Maybe even cast it to your TV like a good party host.

3. PHONE! Get the ABC app, login with your ex’s info again (I won’t tell), and watch the entire show from a very small screen (eat carrots to avoid eye strain).

4. Okay, fine, there is a fourth: Google “stream the Oscars for free” once it starts and risk getting into legal trouble and/or crashing your laptop with malware so you can watch celebrities’ pseudo-candid expressions in startlingly low resolution.

5. I guess there’s one more: Skip it altogether and wait until Man Repeller recaps it on Monday morning.


This year’s show will be hosted by a late-night host named James. No, not Jimmy Fallon (that was the Golden Globes). No, not James Corden (that was the Grammys). I’m talking about Jimmy Kimmel! Here was his opening monologue when he hosted the Emmys last year, if you want a taste of what it might be like (it’s actually pretty funny):

You can also expect to see 2016 winners (Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson, Alicia Vikander) presenting awards to the 2017 winners.


Before I list some key nominees (you can see the full list here), here are 12 records broken this year (compliments of Time‘s Oscar nominations by numbers):

1. This is the first time there are three black nominees in the same category (Viola Davis, Naomie Harris and Octavia Spencer for Actress in a Supporting Role).

2. This is the first time black actors are nominated in all four acting categories.

3. This is the first time two screenplays by black writers were nominated (August Wilson for Fences and Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney for Moonlight).

4. This is the first time a black woman was ever nominated for Best Editing (Joi McMillon for Moonlight).

5. A record-breaking nine films and documentaries with nonwhite subjects were nominated.

6. A record-breaking six black actors were nominated.

7. Seven nonwhite actors nominated ties the 2007 record.

8. Viola Davis has received a record-breaking number of nominations for a black female actor.

9. Denzel Washington broke his own record for most Oscar nominations for a black male actor.

10. Dev Patel is the first Indian actor to be nominated in 13 years for his work in Lion. (Ben Kingsley was nominated in 2004.)

11. Meryl Streep broke her own record for most nominated actor — male or female — with 20 noms.

12. This is the first time a black artist is nominated for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Screenplay (Barry Jenkins for Moonlight).

Okay here are the biggies:

Actor in a Leading Role
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Denzel Washington (Fences)

Actress in a Leading Role
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Ruth Negga (Loving)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Emma Stone (La La Land)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Of note: This is the first time there are three black nominees in the same category!

Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
Dev Patel (Lion)
Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis (Fences)
Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Picture

If you’re not diametrically opposed to trailers like moi, here are the ones for the nine Best Picture nominees (HAVE FUN WITH ALL THOSE SPOILERS!):

1. Arrival
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Quick synopsis: “A linguistics expert (Amy Adams) is tasked with deciphering messages from alien visitors.” (via)

2. Fences
Director: Denzel Washington
Quick synopsis: “A Pittsburgh garbage man (Denzel Washington) finds success at work but increasing tension at home.” (via)

3. Hacksaw Ridge
Director: Mel Gibson
Quick synopsis: “A devout young man (Andrew Garfield) enlists in the Army during World War II yet won’t touch a gun.” (via)

4. Hell or High Water
Director: David Mackenzie
Quick synopsis: “Two West Texas brothers (Ben Foster, Chris Pine) brazenly rob the branches of a bank foreclosing on their family’s land.” (via)

5. Hidden Figures
Director: Theodore Melfi
Quick synopsis: “Three mathematicians (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe) overcome racial and gender inequality to help America during the Space Race.” (via)

6. La La Land
Director: Damien Chazelle
Quick synopsis: “An aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and a jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) fall in love while trying to make their dreams come true.” (via)

7. Lion
Director: Garth Davis
Quick synopsis: “Two decades after being lost from his family, a young Australian man (Dev Patel) plots a path back home to India.” (via)

8. Manchester by the Sea
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Quick synopsis: “A handyman (Casey Affleck) is forced to confront a past tragedy when he’s named sole guardian of his nephew (Lucas Hedges).” (via)

9. Moonlight
Director: Barry Jenkins
Quick synopsis: “A three-act character study that follows the life of a gay black man (Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes) from struggling child to intimidating adult.” (via)

Okay that’s all! See you there!

Collage by Maria Jia Ling Pitt; photos by Space Frontiers/Hulton Archive and Wally Eagler/Authenticated News/Archive Photos via Getty Images.

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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