How to watch the Oscars on TV and online

Don’t expect another envelope snafu this year.
Don’t expect another envelope snafu this year.
Image: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
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The 90th Academy Awards are this Sunday (March 4) at 8pm ET. For the first time in many years, the best picture race is completely wide open, as at least four films have realistic chances of taking home the highest honor in cinema.

That adds a level of intrigue that was absent last year, when La La Land and Moonlight were the only films that had a real shot at taking home the night’s top prize. Of course, last year’s ceremony ended in chaosLa La Land was erroneously announced the winner before one of the film’s producers realized a mistake had been made and Moonlight was, in fact, the real winner.

Don’t expect such high drama again this year, but the night will still be filled with stars and surprises as the biggest names in Hollywood gather to celebrate an impressive slate of films and performances from 2017.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel is set to host the show for the second year in a row. Be on the lookout for a #MeToo theme to emerge during the telecast in the midst of Hollywood’s ongoing reckoning with its sexual harassment and gender inequality problems.

You’ll find more here on the Oscars rankings, odds, and a drinking game. Here’s how to watch on TV and online, in both the United States and elsewhere around the world:

How to watch the Oscars with a cable TV subscription

The Oscars will air on ABC at 8pm US Eastern time. Those with a cable subscription can just tune into ABC when the show starts. Additionally, ABC subscribers in many major markets will be able to login with their cable credentials and watch the show on or the ABC app. (Only those in Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco can stream online.)

E! will have Oscars pre-coverage pretty much all day. At 5pm ET, the red carpet will begin on E!, while ABC will start broadcasting from the red carpet at 6:30pm.

Oscar TV ratings have trended downward for the last several years. Last year, 32.9 million Americans watched Moonlight win best picture, down 4% from the year before, when Spotlight took home the gold. That trend is likely to continue this year as there are no box office sensations like Titanic to elevate the telecast’s ratings.

Outside the US, the Oscars will be broadcast live in dozens of countries. The show will be available on TNT Latin America; Sky Movie Oscars in the United Kingdom; ProSieben in Germany; and Star India. For a list of other countries broadcasting the awards on TV, check here and here.

How to watch the Oscars online

If you have an American cable subscription that includes ABC, you can watch the ceremony live on the ABC app or in select markets. If you don’t get ABC, however, you still have a few options.

Any of the live internet TV services that include ABC in their packages will stream the Oscars live online to subscribers. That includes Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, DirecTV Now, and more. Hulu will also have the full Oscars broadcast available to subscribers the next morning (Monday, March 5). If you live outside the United States, you could, in theory, use a VPN to trick one of these services into thinking you were subscribing from within the US. But do so at your own peril.

The film academy will also offer a free “Oscars All Access” behind-the-scenes stream on and its Facebook page, starting at 6:30pm ET.  The feed promises to provide more exclusive red carpet and backstage interviews with celebrities.

Oscar predictions

I make no claims to be an awards prognosticator, but my favorites in a strong field of best picture nominees are listed here. And you can see the current odds for every award at Gold Derby.

The Shape of Water is looking pretty good for best picture, with the most nominations in the field (13). If any film is going to upset it, we’ll go with Get Out, a critical darling and box office hit that’s a favorite of many of the Academy’s younger, more diverse members.

Gary Oldman will almost certainly win best actor for his performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Frances McDormand will probably win for best actress for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. (Both have been nominated before, and McDormand is a past winner, which helps their chances.) Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards) and Allison Janney (I, Tonya) are the favorites in the supporting acting categories.

Best director looks like a showdown between Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) and Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), with Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and Jordan Peele (Get Out) as possible, but unlikely, underdogs.

One thing we know for sure: There will be lots of Meryl Streep.