Read this before you plan your viewing party. 

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
Feb 15, 2019 @ 4:15 pm
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Whether you're an Oscars fan because you love to see your favorite celebrities win big, or you simply can't get enough of what they wear on the red carpet, prepare to get pumped because the Academy Awards are just around the corner. The whole thing is going down on Sunday, Feb. 24 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET. 

But there are a few basics you'll want to keep in mind before tuning in for the night, including the details of the serious drama that's surrounding the awards. For starters, this year's ceremony will be host-less after comedian Kevin Hart stepped down from the position following his homophobic tweet scandal. The show has only proceeded without a host once before — 30 years ago, according to Variety.

There's also the Academy's latest announcement that it's changing up the standard show lineup by removing four main categories from the regular broadcast; they will instead give out the statuettes during the commercials. (More on that in a bit.)

All of that's to say — you're going to want to watch Hollywood's biggest night for one reason or another. But if you want to know how much time to set aside, we've got you covered.

RELATED: How To Watch Every Movie Nominated For An Oscar This Year

How Long Are the Oscars?

If we learned anything from the Oscars of the past, it's that the runtimes can seriously vary. The 2017 show was three hours and 16 minutes, while the longest show ever in 2002 was four hours and 20 minutes. But on average, the Academy Awards seem to span about three hours and 15 minutes.

But that could, of course, change with the recent news that the Academy is eliminating the cinematography, film editing, live-action short, and makeup and hairstyling categories from the regular broadcast, according to The Hollywood Reporter

Academy president John Bailey told the publication the reason for the change was the result of an ever-shifting audience.

"Viewing patterns for the Academy Awards are changing quickly in our current multi-media world, and our show must also evolve to successfully continue promoting motion pictures to a worldwide audience," he said. "This has been our core mission since we were established 91 years ago — and it is the same today."

ABC will air the winners' speeches later during the broadcast, according to The Hollywood Reporter

So How Is Hollywood Taking That News?

While there is no official word on how the elimination of four major categories will affect how long the Oscars will run, there has been plenty of news regarding how people feel about the change. Hint: It's not good. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a group of actors, directors, cinematographers and other filmmakers have sent the Academy and Oscars producers an open letter asking them to reverse their decision to present the four awards during commercial breaks. Signees include Alfonso Cuarón, Christopher Nolan, Michael Mann, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Banks, Peter Dinklage and Kerry Washington, the publication reported.

"Relegating these essential cinematic crafts to lesser status in this 91st Academy Awards ceremony is nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession," the letter noted. "When the recognition of those responsible for the creation of outstanding cinema is being diminished by the very institution whose purpose it is to protect it, then we are no longer upholding the spirit of the Academy’s promise to celebrate film as a collaborative art form."

The Academy responded, saying “no award category at the 91st Oscars ceremony will be presented in a manner that depicts the achievements of its nominees and winners as less than any others.”

VIDEO: Kevin Hart Steps Down as Oscars Host After Outcry Over Homophobic Tweets

OK, But I'm Still Invested

If the drama and long runtime still haven't deterred you from watching the show, then you probably want to know a bit about the top contenders, right? 

A few favorites you'll want to watch for include Roma and The Favourite, which both nabbed 10 nominations each, including Best Picture and Best Director. A Star Is Born and Vice each walked away with eight nominations, and BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book also received nominations in several of the categories. If you haven't seen the complete list of nominees yet, then take a peek and fill out your Oscars ballot before the show.

One you won't see? Bradley Cooper in the Achievement In Directing category — the A Star Is Born director and actor was snubbed in that particular field

But that's another drama, another day, am I right?