The Academy Awards are, without doubt, the most anticipated event in the Hollywood calendar. Every February, some of the biggest stars in the world glam up and gather on Hollywood Boulevard to celebrate the best of film over the previous twelve months. However, while celebratory parties might rage through the night in Los Angeles, the attitude towards the Oscars in the United Kingdom is a little more muted. As a result, watching the event in the UK turns out to be more difficult than you might expect.
Who shows the Academy Awards?
For the past nine years, exclusive live rights to the Oscars in the UK have been held by Sky Movies. Part of the BSkyB satellite TV service, Sky Movies requires a monthly payment of at least £16.50 on top of your standard satellite/cable package fee. For the 2013 awards show, Sky introduced a dedicated Oscars channel showing Oscar-winning films for two weeks building up to the event.
The live show
The Oscars can be watched on TV in high-definition, or online through the Sky Go service. From around 11:30pm on the night of the Oscars, Sky's live coverage of the event begins with casual discussion by a group of experts, interspersed with interviews live from the red carpet. Coverage switches to the live Academy Awards from 1am, with reaction from the same panel of experts throughout to cover American network commercial breaks.
For those unwilling to pay for the premium movie channels, there are highlight shows available on both satellite and terrestrial television. Living TV, a Sky channel available on lower-priced packages, show an hour-long highlight reel on the evening following the ceremony. The free-to-air BBC, meanwhile, has brief highlight shows as part of their news service the morning after. If you miss these, your best option for awards speeches, music performances and the like are online video services such as YouTube.
Any special events?
Unless you hold a party of your own, then Oscars celebrations are very few and far between. While some London bars host themed build-up events, there are no established annual parties and your best bet is to scan local events listings in the weeks leading up to the show. With the ceremony being held in the early hours of the morning, it seems film fans in the United Kingdom simply see little point in organising major Oscar viewing events.