The pinnacle of awards season is almost here; the Oscars, due to air on Sunday, February 24. The 91st Academy Awards come after a monumental year in film. #MeToo and #TimesUp are driving forces in tackling equality and sexism in an industry that traditionally favoured the white, male winner. Acceptance speeches served as direct responses to the industries attitude towards women in particular.
Related: The 2019 Oscar nominations have been announced
We've seen at the BAFTAs, Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes that women and actors of different ethnicities and colour are taking home major awards so diversity is slowly creeping into what was a stagnant system and giving it a needed shake-up. Though some things never change - another year and still no women have received a nomination for Best Director. Baby steps.
Excitement mounts as we are only a week away from the big night. Here's a rundown of what we can expect (and we are hoping for a speech as wonderful and rousing as Francis McDormand's "Inclusion Rider".)
The nominees and respective winners have pretty much been the same across the board at all the events. Roma and The Favourite lead the pack, with 10 nominations each and featuring in the major categories.
Olivia Colman should take home Best Actress for her role as Queen Anne in The Favourite but the odds may swing in Glenn Close's favour as her formidable performance in The Wife could see her nab the award in tribute to a decades-long career in the industry. Rami Malek (for Bohemian Rhapsody) is a strong contender for Best Actor but given the controversy its director is caught up in, he might not take the main award.
See the rest of the nominees HERE.
The lack of a presenter
Comedian Kevin Hart stepped down as host of the 2019 Oscars after a bout of controversy. Hart had been given an ultimatum by the Academy to choose between apologising for homophobic tweets he had made in the past, or lose the job. He refused to apologise, saying, "I chose to pass on the apology. The reason why I passed is because I've addressed this several times. I've said who I am now versus who I was then. I've done it. I'm not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I've moved on and I'm in a completely different place in my life."
I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's....this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) December 7, 2018
So, for the first time since 1989, the 2019 Oscars will proceed without a host. According to Variety, producers will now have a radical compromise in not having a set host for the ceremony this year; instead, they will select a number of A-list stars to introduce the various award segments.
The second controversy
The organisers of the Oscars have reversed an earlier decision to hand out four awards during ad breaks after facing a major backlash from Hollywood players.
The presentations for live action short, cinematography, editing and make-up and hair were to be streamed online in an effort to shorten this year's TV broadcast on 24 February. However, Dozens of directors, cinematographers and actors had criticised the decision. Organisers have said they had heard the "feedback" and changed their mind.
A statement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said: "All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24."
View this post on Instagram
The Best Song nominees
In what is sure to be a show highlight, Bette Midler will perform The Place Where Lost Things Go, singing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns. Bette Milder!
And if that wasn't exciting enough, we know that Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will perform Shallow from A Star Is Born - this will be their first official performance of the song together since the movie (not including the surprise duet at a recent Lady Gaga concert).
The red carpet
View this post on Instagram
The red carpet will be a fashion talking point as ever, and IMAGE.ie will be covering it, as it happens from next Sunday at 11pm. Be sure to check back to the site for regular updates and don't forget to follow un on social media for all the real-time action.
Main image via @TheBulletin