Idiot Box: The Oscars on ABC
 Alibi V.28 No.8 • Feb 21-27, 2019 

Idiot Box

Red Carpet Countdown

The Oscars on ABC

Hollywood’s night to celebrate … well, Hollywood gets underway this Sunday. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, bestower of the annual Oscars, has been handing out accolades for 91 years. Fans of movies love to watch and cheer or watch and complain. Either way, the Academy Awards is an irresistible lure for cinephiles.

Fortunately for those who like to overdose on such pageantry, TV is providing us with hours of pre- and post-show coverage

Believe it or not, you can start your Oscar binge seven hours before the official telecast with “Countdown to the Oscars, Live!” (KOAT-7 11am to 2pm). The network bills it as “a guide to Hollywood’s biggest night, featuring unforgettable moments from Oscars past and a first look inside the new Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum.” ABC started broadcasting red carpet arrivals last year, and this year you’ll get plenty of interviews with nominees, presenters and performers throughout the day. Feel free to bet on which celeb arrives first.

Not to be outdone, the longtime entertainment industry gawkers at E! have their own inimitable brand of red carpet celebration. “E! Countdown to the Red Carpet—Oscars 2019” (E! 11am to 2pm) and “E! Live From the Red Carpet—Oscars 2019” (E! 3pm to 6pm) will give you the rundown on every dress, every hairdo and every nail color—with occasional brief pauses to talk about acting. Let’s face it, most people tune into “Hollywood Prom” to look at the clothing, and the correspondents at E! never met a scantily clad celebrity they didn’t like. So if you’re more interested in fashion than cinematography, spend your day watching E!

After a short break for local news, ABC really buckles down on the red carpet coverage with “Oscars Opening Ceremony—Live From the Red Carpet” (KOAT-7 4:30pm to 6pm). All the really big stars show up fashionably late anyway, so if you wanna do some serious stargazing, now is the time to tune in.

The actual ceremony, the “The 91st Oscars” (KOAT-7 6pm), finally starts somewhere close to dinnertime—which is why the nominees are always starving throughout the telecast. This year marks the first year since 1989’s 61st Academy Awards that the ceremony will be conducted without a host. (Comedian Kevin Hart dropped out in January after some old homophobic jokes of his resurfaced.) According to the Academy, various celebrity presenters will introduce segments, hand out awards and “perform skits and musical numbers” throughout the evening. Although the Academy has been uncharacteristically mum about who might appear, rumors say the show’s producers have been trying to recruit all of Marvel’s Avengers (from Captain America’s Chris Evans to Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman) for cameos. Longtime star Bette Midler let slip this past week that she would be on the show performing the song “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns. Add to that the guarantee of Lady Gaga singing her smash song “Shallow” from A Star is Born, and the Best Original Song presentations are guaranteed to be one of the night’s highlights.

And if you need a wind-down after all the gold gets handed out, tune back into E! for “After Party: Oscars 2019” (E! 9pm). The hosts and camera crews at E! will be there stalking Hollywood’s hottest after parties, interviewing the winners about where they will keep their new statues and doing their best to catch the losers sucking down champagne and dancing away their disappointment.