You know an Oscar race has gotten boring when Brad Pitt starts using it to test out material for stand-up comedy. The superstar has won every major precursor trophy leading up to this year’s Academy Awards, which will air on ABC at 8 p.m. EST on Sunday, February 9. For his performance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Pitt has won the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild award, the BAFTA, the Critics’ Choice Award and numerous others, giving a different but equally pithy speech for each. For the BAFTAs, he didn’t even attend, having co-star Margot Robbie read a cute bunch of one-liners on his behalf that began, “Hey Britain! Heard you just became single; welcome to the club!”
Pitt’s nonchalant march to expected Oscar glory has typified a dull awards season, one in which the four acting winners have been seemingly set in stone for months, and an initially chaotic Best Picture race has coalesced around Sam Mendes’s crowd-pleasing late entry 1917. That could mean that Sunday’s ceremony, which has no host and is taking place earlier than usual, is a bit of a drag—which is also exactly what the Academy hoped to avoid by moving up their deadlines by a few weeks. For years, shows like the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards have stolen a little of the Oscars’ ratings thunder by offering a preview of what’s to come. This year, those shows have taken the surprise out of everything, and unless something radical happens (on the level of Moonlight’s 2017 win or Olivia Colman’s triumph last year), Hollywood’s biggest night of the year will end with a whimper. Here’s what I expect to happen.