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Oscars 2020: the lowdown

Charlize Theron, pictured here at the 2019 Oscars, is nominated in this year’s Best Actress category for her performance in Bombshell

From the nominations to what to expect on the night, here’s everything you need to know about the Oscars 2020

Reporter

The most prestigious night on the film calendar, the Academy Awards perennially welcomes the biggest names in the industry to celebrate the year’s offerings on screen. For the Oscars 2020 (the 92nd event in the Academy’s history), the ceremony will revive last year’s winning no-host formula, and the countdown begins now. This is what we know so far.

Who are the nominees at the Oscars 2020?

All eyes were on the recent nominations to see if they followed the same lack of diversity across the awards season shortlists this year – and this was largely, and disappointingly, the case. Leading the pack is Todd Phillip’s Joker, which received 11 nods, followed by The Irishman, 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (each with 10). The Best Actress category sees Cynthia Erivo nominated for Harriet, Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story, Saoirse Ronan for Little Women, Charlize Theron for Bombshell and Renée Zellweger for Judy (for which she is tipped to take home the prize). The competition for Best Actor is expected to be close, with Antonio Banderas, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Joaquin Phoenix and Jonathan Pryce on the shortlist.

Best Picture will be a race between Once Upon a Time…, Little Women (though Greta Gerwig was overlooked in the all-male Best Director list), Marriage Story, Parasite, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Ford v Ferrari and 1917. Florence Pugh garnered her first Academy Award nomination, for Best Supporting Actress in Little Women, while Tom Hanks received his first nod in almost 20 years – in the Best Supporting Actor category for A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.

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What to expect from the Oscars 2020 ceremony

In line with the format of last year’s event, there will not be an overall host for the ceremony. Instead, the Academy will welcome an A-list line-up of presenters and performances to front the proceedings. Taking place at its usual Dolby Theatre location in Hollywood, on February 9, it will be broadcast live in the US on ABC, beginning at 5pm PT/8pm ET. (The red-carpet coverage will start an hour and a half earlier.) UK viewers are able to watch the ceremony via Sky Cinema and NOW TV.

Why are they called the Oscars?

The story of why the awards got their nickname is less clear-cut. One version is that Bette Davis, who was once president of the Academy, coined the term for her then husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson Jr. Another tale says that a newspaper reporter overheard Margaret Herrick, the Academy’s then librarian, saying that the statuette reminded her of her uncle Oscar, and published a story exhorting the moniker. Wherever it came from, it has certainly stuck.

Standout moments

Some of the most memorable Oscar moments have occurred in recent years: who can forget Ryan Gosling’s suppressed laughter as the cast and crew of La La Land discovered, while on stage to accept the award for best film in 2017, that the winner was in fact Moonlight? Then there was the 2014 selfie to beat all selfies, when host Ellen DeGeneres snapped herself with Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jared Leto, Julia Roberts, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Lupita Nyong’o (plus Lupita’s brother, Peter Nyong’o). Go back a little further, to 1974, and the Oscars witnessed its very own streaker, as activist Robert Opel ran naked across the stage in front of host David Niven. And back in 1972, Charlie Chaplin received the longest-ever standing ovation, which lasted an incredible 12 minutes.

That Oscars selfie, featuring everyone from Jennifer Lawrence to Brad Pitt, at the 2014 ceremony
L-R: Regina King, Lady Gaga, Gemma Chan

Who rules the red carpet?

Although we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see who tops the style stakes in 2020, each year features a host of red-carpet winners. In 2019, pink was the color of choice for Gemma Chan, Angela Bassett, Kiki Layne, Kacey Musgraves and co-ordinating couple Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet. Best Supporting Actress winner Regina King dazzled in a white Oscar de la Renta dress with a thigh-high split, and Best Song winner Lady Gaga channeled Audrey Hepburn in an Alexander McQueen black strapless gown and Tiffany diamond necklace. Meanwhile, actress Laura Harrier promoted sustainable fashion in a bespoke, ethically sourced dress by Louis Vuitton.

In previous years, special commendations go to: Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy, 1954; Grace Kelly in Edith Head, 1955; Julia Roberts in vintage Valentino, 2001; Charlize Theron in Gucci, 2004; Vanessa Paradis in vintage Chanel, 2004; Michelle Williams in Vera Wang, 2006; Marion Cotillard in Jean Paul Gaultier, 2008; Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford, 2012; Halle Berry in Versace and Jennifer Lawrence in Dior, 2013; Lupita Nyong’o in Prada, 2014; Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein, 2018.

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Meryl Streep has been nominated an incredible 21 times – here in 2010 for Julie & Julia

Prolific winners

In terms of winners, there have been only six tied votes during the history of the ceremony, one of the most memorable being when Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn shared the honors in 1969, for Funny Girl and The Lion in Winter respectively. Hepburn is also the recipient of the most Oscars for acting, with four wins and a total of 12 nominations – nominations – Meryl Streep is just behind her on three wins from 21 nominations. But Walt Disney holds the record for taking home the most Oscar statuettes: 26 wins from an impressive total of 59 nominations.

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