Oscars 2017: What you need to know for tonight's show

They've tallied the votes, gilded the giant Oscar statues and rolled out the red carpet. Fans of film, frocks and frivolity focused on the famous turn their eyes to Hollywood tonight for the 89th annual Academy Awards. Here's what you need to know ahead of this year's show.

Jimmy Kimmel debuts as host; stars' speeches expected to get political

CBC's Zulekha Nathoo gives a tour of the 2017 Oscars red carpet

5 years ago
Duration 1:28
Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington are among the stars expected to attend the Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 26 in Los Angeles 1:28

They've tallied the votes, gilded those giant Oscar statues and rolled out the red carpet. Fans of film, frocks and famous faces will turn their eyes to Hollywood tonight for the 89th annual Academy Awards.

CBC News will be following the events as they unfold on our live blog, starting at 6 p.m. ET.

Here's what else you need to know ahead of this year's show.

How to watch

The Oscars take place at the Hollywood and Highland Center's Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The ceremony airs live on American TV network ABC and Canadian network CTV, with the official Oscars red carpet broadcast to start at 7 p.m. ET and the awards show itself underway at 8:30 pm ET. 

For those online or on mobile, ABC will also stream the show at abc.com and via its app, while CTV will stream the show via its CTV Go app.

The Oscars: All Access live stream at oscar.com will carry the red carpet segment as well as backstage content from 7 p.m. ET onward. 

Who's expected onstage

Late-night TV's Jimmy Kimmel makes his debut as Oscar host, joining a club of funny folks whose membership includes Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Johnny Carson and Bob Hope.

Celebrity presenters will include all four of 2016's acting winners — Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson, Alicia Vikander and Mark Rylance — as well as Halle Berry, Amy Adams, John Cho, Dwayne Johnson, David Oyelowo, Scarlett Johansson, Gael Garcia Bernal, Samuel L. Jackson, Hailee Steinfeld and more.

One especially notable last-minute presenter was also added: the "overrated" Meryl Streep

Performers to take to the Oscars stage include (clockwise from top left) Sara Bareilles, Sting, John Legend, Auli'i Cravalho, Justin Timberlake and Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Associated Press)

Slated to take the stage to perform the five original song contenders are Justin Timberlake (Can't Stop the Feeling from Trolls), John Legend (Audition and City of Stars from La La Land), Lin-Manuel Miranda and Auli'i Cravalho (How Far I'll Go from Moana) and Sting (The Empty Chair from Jim: The James Foley Story). 

Sara Bareilles will also sing for the show's In Memoriam tribute.

Top contenders

La La Land, a contemporary romance and candy-coloured ode to Hollywood musicals starring Canadian Ryan Gosling and American Emma Stone, is the leading contender. (Dale Robinette/Lionsgate)

The musical love story La La Land is the one to beat heading into the awards. It nabbed a record-tying 14 nominations and has been a favourite of critics groups and other awards shows this season. Its rivals for best picture are: 

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

The controversies

Iranian Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi, who is boycotting Sunday's ceremony, has chosen a female Iranian-American engineer and an Iranian-American former NASA scientist to attend in his stead. (Michel Euler/The Associated Press)

With a former reality TV star who delights in creating controversy now in the Oval Office, politics has seeped into all aspects of American life, including the entertainment world. It's widely expected that speeches will get political, as they have throughout the preceding awards season. Whether viewers tune out remains to be seen.

The Oscars improved on the diversity front this year, including with nominations for films such as Hidden Figures, starring (from background left) Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae. (Hopper Stone/Twentieth Century Fox/Associated Press)

For the first time in Oscar history, an actor of colour is nominated in each acting category, while four of five best documentary nominees were made by black filmmakers.

However, while this crop of Oscar contenders better reflects today's diversity, it's not a total triumph. As many have pointed out, there's a lot to be done to better incorporate underrepresented film industry groups — from Latino, Asian, Indigenous and LGBT performers to female filmmakers, screenwriters, editors and other movie specialists.

Canadians in the spotlight

It's a banner year for Canuck finalists at this year's Academy Awards, with Ontario-born actor Ryan Gosling vying for a trophy and Quebec filmmaker Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi thinker Arrival a top contender.

Quebec director Denis Villeneuve, right, relied on a host of his hometown collaborators for his sci-fi hit Arrival, filmed in Montreal and up for eight Oscars. (FilmNation Entertainment)

Aside from Gosling and Villeneuve's bids for best actor and director respectively, Canadians are also nominated across multiple Oscar categories, including best picture, animated short, production design, set design, sound mixing, sound editing and documentary feature. 

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