Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Get ready for an Oscar night of charged speeches, mourning, and dancing

Image: The Academy

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, February 26. All times are Eastern.

Top picks

The 89th Annual Academy Awards (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Earlier this month, a group of The A.V. Club’s best and brightest sat down to discuss whether or not it was a good idea to cancel the Oscars this year, given that a probably insane vat-grown hybrid of horse hair, bronzer, and human fat is trying to disassemble America, and Hollywood is openly opposed to that. (Well, most of it.) The fact that one of its own nominees, Asghar Farhadi, was among those caught in said hybrid’s Muslim ban only makes it more likely that the actors and directors honored this year will use their podium as a pulpit to speak out against our Russian puppet kleptocracy. And given so much of the show is likely to turn into a protest, it raised the question if shutting it down entirely would provide the bigger statement.


However, the Academy remains too in love with itself to even consider that possibility, so the 89th Oscar ceremony will proceed with Jimmy Kimmel at the helm. An examination of Oscar voting and its impressive haul of awards to date means that La La Land remains the favorite to sweep the night, pleasing all of you who aren’t dead inside. However, last year’s surprising (yet understandable) Spotlight win means there’s always a hint of uncertainty. Could any of the other nominees make a difference against the forces of razzle-dazzle, on their own or as an assembled ballot-dividing force?

Film editor A.A. Dowd weighed in with some thoughts on the major nominees last week, and tonight our full team will be on the red carpet. Follow our live-blog here on the site or through the hashtag #AVCOscars on Twitter for reactions to all the awards, speeches, and truly bizarre moments. Also, have your tissue boxes handy, because given the thresher-paced swing of reaper scythes last year the “In Memoriam” segment is probably going to run 15 minutes.

Big Little Lies (HBO, 9 p.m.): It takes some moxie to air new episodes against the Oscars, but with two Academy Award winners and one Academy Award nominee in its main cast, Big Little Lies has moxie to spare. (Or, at least, a network that has a streaming option to make episodes available in advance.) Tonight, “Madeline gets news that her community-theater production might get derailed, and is outraged over a slight from Renata.” Those sound like the ingredients for a great time to our reviewer Gwen Ihnat, who’s all-in on the show after the first episode set up “a hypnotic package” of sniping and deceit. And driving, of course. So much driving.

Crashing (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): HBO dropped the newest trailer for Silicon Valley last week, and our anticipation for the April return is sure to be further stoked by T.J. Miller’s appearance as Pete Holmes’ latest comedic mentor/housing lifeline. Let’s just hope for Pete’s sake that this incarnation doesn’t share the “dick up” sleeping habits of Erlich Bachman.


Premieres and finales

Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live From The Red Carpet (ABC, 7 p.m.): It wouldn’t be an awards night without at least an hour of red carpet pageantry beforehand, and ABC has you covered. Come for the dresses and tuxedos, stay for the empty platitudes and rote recitals. And hope that any of these people had as much fun getting dressed up in their fancy garb as Lego Batman did.


Regular coverage

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.)

Homeland (Showtime, 9 p.m.)

Girls (HBO, 10 p.m.)

Billions (Showtime, 10 p.m.)

Streaming pick

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, “The Gang Tries Desperately To Win An Award” (Hulu/Netflix): Charlie Kelly provides the mantra all of tonight’s losers can repeat to themselves as they cry themselves to sleep in the bathtub: “I don’t need your trophies or your gold. I just wanna tell you all: Go fuck yourselves!”


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