The 91st Academy Awards have finally arrived: here’s what you need to know, when you need to know it by and who (we think) will win the key prizes

And now, the end is near … This year’s Oscar season has been the most fractious in memory: not only have many of the contenders been given the third degree for various failings, but the ceremony itself – the old standby of reliably dull TV – has been pulled this way and that with a series of messed-up tweaks that have served mainly to enrage the Oscars own membership. Whether it’s the Kevin Hart debacle, the farrago over ad-break presentations, or the attempt to axe the non-famous songs, it’s safe to say it hasn’t gone well. So far.

So putting all that aside, what have we actually got? We still don’t know if there’ll be a surprise host (Whoopi Goldberg was being talked up as a last-minute possible), though it seems clear various attention-grabbing names have been frogmarched in to do some sort of podium duty. The Academy have backed away from all their various publicly-floated proposals to trim the running time, but they have pledged to keep it to three hours, so we will have to wait and see what they ditch. (Here’s a suggestion: those skincrawling comedy bits designed to go viral .)

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