By Daniel Arkin
Anything could happen at the Oscars. It just snowed in Los Angeles, after all.
Hollywood, coming off the rockiest and most blunder-prone awards season in recent memory, heads into the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday night (8 p.m. ET on ABC) without a best picture frontrunner and without a host.
The producers of the telecast have insisted everything is in “very good shape.” But the stakes are high and the pressure is on. The film academy, rattled after last year’s record-low ratings, needs to draw a bigger audience to stay relevant in an increasingly fractured media landscape.
In these final hours before the big show, here’s a guide to some of the key storylines that might give shape to the most unpredictable Oscars in years. (We’ll have live coverage throughout the night, so stick around.)
‘The Favourite,’ but no favorite
The fight for best picture is usually a two- or three-way race. But this year, all eight nominees for the top prize are in the mix. Variety has said we’re in “uncharted territory.”
Oscar oddsmakers favor Alfonso Cuarón’s black-and-white drama “Roma” and Peter Farrelly’s road trip comedy “Green Book.” And yet Spike Lee’s docudrama “BlacKkKlansman,” a fiery commentary on race in America, and Ryan Coogler’s superhero smash “Black Panther,” the big winner at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, ride into the show with late-breaking momentum.