By Tom Huddleston Jr.
March 1, 2018

The Best Picture predictions are all in and the 2018 Oscars ballots are ready to be filled out in anticipation of Hollywood’s biggest stars strolling the red carpet into the Dolby Theatre for the 90th Academy Awards this Sunday.

TV ratings for the Academy Awards have been steadily declining for several years, as has been the case with much of the live programming on traditional television, but tens of millions of people will still be watching this Sunday to see which of the year’s best films take home the most golden statues. For those planning to watch the Oscars, there are various options for tuning in beyond simply turning on the TV and flipping to ABC.

Audiences’ changing viewing habits are likely one reason for the declining ratings for live award shows like the Oscars, as more and more people cut ties with the cable packages that are often required to watch such programs either on TV or online. However, there are also plenty of options for cord-cutters who want to watch the live event in case of another envelope snafu (and, at least one recent study found that the number of people planning to stream award shows this year will jump 28%).

What Time to Watch

The main event kicks off on ABC at 8 p.m. ET, which is when host Jimmy Kimmel will emerge to start the show with a monologue that is almost certain to cover everything from politics to the #MeToo movement’s effect on Hollywood. Last year, nearly 33 million people tuned in to ABC to watch Moonlight‘s upset Best Picture win (with a shocking twist!), which represented the glitzy program’s lowest viewership in nine years.

First of all, Comcast’s E! cable network will, as always, air live coverage of the Oscars’ red carpet, from the arrivals A-list celebrities to interviews with the night’s nominees. The network’s coverage will kick off at 1 p.m. ET with a pre-red-carpet show before transitioning into the annual Live From the Red Carpet special at 5 p.m. ET.

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The Old School Option: TV

ABC, meanwhile, will begin its live coverage of the red carpet at 6:30 p.m. ET, which will be available on the broadcast network or live-streaming on or the ABC app.

Several live-TV subscription streaming services offer users access to ABC’s live feed, which will include the Oscars and related coverage, such as Hulu’s live TV service, Google’s YouTube TV, the Dish Network’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV, and Sony’s PlayStation Vue. Hulu will also make the entire Academy Awards ceremony available for streaming on Monday, if you’re willing to wait until the day after.

The Future Is Streaming

The main event will also be available for live-streaming on ABC’s website or app when it begins at 8 p.m. ET. The ABC app is available to download on iOS and Android devices, as well as streaming players such as Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. (Those live-stream options will require viewers to log in with cable subscription credentials and they will only be available to viewers in the following markets: Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco.)

The website The Oscars: All Access will also stream ABC’s free pre-show with exclusive footage from the red carpet. And, Facebook has also partnered with ABC and the Oscars to make the social media’s giant’s Watch online video service the “exclusive social platform” for Academy Awards coverage that will include red carpet highlights and exclusive backstage footage during the ceremony.


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