May 18, 2021

Oscars 2021: the dresses, the winners, the weird semi-masked ceremony in a train station – live!

Here’s your invitation to the strangest night of the year, when your virtual enjoyment of the 93rd Academy Awards will be, for once, on equal footing with most of Hollywood

Will there be any post-ceremony parties this year? Surprisingly yes. Variety reports that Andra Day is hosting 80 people in a thoroughly Covid-safe soiree. The good news is that guests will be served peach cobbler. The bad news is that nobody will be let in until they’ve taken an on-site rapid test. Well done to Day for finding the only 80 people on Earth who enjoy peach cobbler enough to endure dry-heaving on a testing swab.

NEWS! One person has actually arrived at the Oscars. It’s Paul Raci, who must now suffer through three horrible hours of walking around an unfamiliar train station hoping that he’ll find somebody to talk to, and wondering if he can get away with just hiding in a toilet cubicle until the ceremony starts.

While we’re waiting for something to happen, why not indulge yourself in some of the marvellous Oscars coverage that The Guardian has produced this year.

Andrew Pulver has written about how nobody is going to watch the Oscars this year.

I listed the 20 most awkward moments in Oscars history. With CLIPS!

Peter Bradshaw has compiled his annual Braddies, and has gone in hard in several categories this year

And finally, bit late now but whatever, here’s a handy guide on how you can watch all the nominated films in the UK. In truth, you could probably pick and watch them instead of watching the actual Oscars, and you’d probably be happier for it. But you’re here now. No refunds.

Because the Oscars are still a full three hours away, the E! coverage currently just consists of some hosts describing whatever they happen to be wearing. If I go quiet for a bit, it’s because there’s something slightly redundant about describing a television presenter describing their own shoes.

Right then. The E! coverage definitely has a red carpet outside a train station. And I don’t know about you, but I’m excited. I’d forgotten what train stations are like.

Welcome, one and all, to the Guardian’s liveblog of what might well be the oddest Oscars ever. For an entire year we’ve been wondering how a movie ceremony will celebrate movies in a year where there weren’t any movies, and now we’re about to find out.

And, honestly, I’m actually a little excited about it. Usually you know exactly what to expect going into the Oscars; long speeches, self-satisfied tributes to the power of cinema, excruciating musical numbers, extended periods of flat-out tedium. But this year, anything goes. The musical performances are no longer tied to one location, so they have the potential to actually be fun. The organisers had originally promised no Zoom speeches, so we’ll have to see how that holds up.

Best of all, nobody knows who’s going to win. Usually the Oscars are the culmination of a long and arduous awards season, with a consensus forming about the winners at some point in January. Not here though. Awards season has been spotty, no consensus exists and – quite frankly – barely anyone has actually seen any of the nominated films. Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland is tipped for glory, but it isn’t released in the UK until next week. The Father isn’t out until June, nor is Another Round. True, Hillbilly Elegy is currently available on Netflix but, Jesus Christ, who on Earth has the willpower to actually sit through Hillbilly Elegy?

So, a weird year, and a ceremony that’s doomed to become the least-watched ever. But, hey, I’m glad you’re here. This is how the evening will go: for the next three hours I’ll be covering the screeching hellride that is the E! Pre-show, with help from the magnificent Hannah Marriott and Morwenna Ferrier. Then (providing that I haven’t completely abandoned the will to live at that point) the ceremony will start at 1am UK time and I’ll be with you until the bitter goddamned end. Sounds good? Good.