BBC 2024-03-10 16:03:54


Princess of Wales: First official picture of Kate since surgery released

The first official photo of the Princess of Wales since her abdominal surgery in January has been released by Kensington Palace.

The image, taken by Prince William at Windsor earlier this week, shows the princess with her three children.

The photo is accompanied by a Mother’s Day message along with a “thank you” from the princess for the public’s “continued support”.

She is not expected to return to public duties before Easter.

In a message shared on social media, Catherine said: “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months.

“Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.”

The photo shows the princess sitting down, surrounded by Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Prince George, wrapping his arms around her.

Catherine, 42, spent 13 nights at the London Clinic, near Regent’s Park in central London, following the surgery.

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  • Prince William to return to work after Kate’s surgery

Prince William visited his wife during her stay and she was visited by the King before he had his own treatment there.

The Palace has shared few details about her condition, which has garnered significant social media speculation, but has said it is not cancer-related.

The team supporting the princess as she recovers is small and limited to those closest to her.

At the time of her stay, the Palace said the princess wanted her personal medical information to remain private, adding that she wanted to “maintain as much normality for her children as possible”.

It said it would only provide updates on her recovery when there was significant new information to share.

This photo will go some way to quell some of the more extreme theories around the princess’s absence from the public stage.

It is a managed attempt to reassure those concerned that the princess is, as her team have repeated, “doing well”.

Sources close to William and Catherine have insisted that the focus was on giving her space to recover away from the scrutiny and judgement the spotlight brings.

US military ship heading to Gaza to build port

A US military ship is sailing towards the Middle East, carrying equipment to build a temporary pier off the coast of Gaza, the army says.

The support ship, General Frank S Besson, set sail from a military base in the state of Virginia on Saturday.

It comes after President Joe Biden said the US would build the floating harbour to help get aid into Gaza by sea.

The UN has warned that famine in the Gaza Strip is “almost inevitable” and children are starving to death.

The US and Jordan carried out an airdrop on Sunday, parachuting in more than 11,500 meals that included rice, flour, pasta, and canned food, the US military said.

Aid deliveries by land and air have proved difficult and dangerous.

The World Food Programme had to pause land deliveries after its convoys came under gunfire and looting. And on Friday, there were reports that five people had been killed by a falling aid package, when its parachute failed to open properly.

  • Why food airdrops into Gaza are controversial
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The US ship departed “less than 36 hours” after Mr Biden made his announcement, US Central Command wrote on X.

It is “carrying the first equipment to establish a temporary pier to deliver vital humanitarian supplies” to Gaza, the statement continued.

The Pentagon has said it could take up to 60 days to build the pier with the help of 1,000 troops – none of whom would go ashore.

Charities have said those suffering in Gaza cannot wait that long.

Meanwhile, an aid ship laden with some 200 tonnes of food is expected to set sail from a port in Larnaca, Cyprus on Sunday afternoon, Cypriot media report.

It follows an EU announcement that a new sea route would be opened over the weekend to allow aid to sail directly from Cyprus – the closest EU country to Gaza.

The ship, Open Arms, belongs to the Spanish charity of the same name, and the food on board has been provided by US charity World Central Kitchen.

It is unclear how any aid delivered by sea would get safely to shore before the US pier is built. Gaza has no functioning port and its surrounding waters are too shallow for large vessels.

However Oscar Camps, the founder of Open Arms, told the Associated Press that at the destination point – which remains a secret – a team from the World Central Kitchen has been building a pier to receive the aid.

Israel has welcomed the ocean initiative, and said aid would be delivered after security checks were carried out in Cyprus “in accordance with Israeli standards”.

Israel’s military launched an air and ground campaign in the Gaza Strip after Hamas’s attacks on Israel on 7 October, in which about 1,200 people were killed and 253 others were taken hostage.

More than 30,900 people have been killed in Gaza since then, the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry says.

The conflict has created a growing humanitarian crisis, and the UN has warned that at least 576,000 people across the Gaza Strip – one quarter of the population – are facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Western countries have pressed Israel to expand land deliveries by facilitating more routes and opening additional crossings.

Lorries have been entering the south of Gaza through the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing and the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing. But the north, which was the focus of the first phase of the Israeli ground offensive, has been largely cut off from assistance in recent months.

An estimated 300,000 Palestinians are living there with little food or clean water.

Israel has been accused of hampering aid efforts, and an independent UN expert last week accused it of mounting “a starvation campaign against the Palestinian people in Gaza”.

Yeela Cytrin, a legal adviser at the Israeli mission to the UN, responded that “Israel utterly rejects allegations that it is using starvation as a tool of war”, before walking out in protest.

IDF completes road across width of Gaza, satellite images show

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has finished building a new road which runs across northern Gaza from east to west, according to satellite images verified by the BBC.

The IDF told the BBC they were attempting to gain an “operational foothold”, and facilitate the movement of troops and equipment.

But some experts fear it will used as a barrier, preventing Palestinians from returning to their homes in the north.

Others said it appeared to be part of an Israeli plan to remain in Gaza beyond the end of current hostilities.

In February, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a post-war vision in which Israel would control security in Gaza indefinitely.

International leaders have previously warned Israel against permanently displacing Palestinians or reducing the size of Gaza.

What do we know about the road?

It runs across north Gaza, with central and southern areas lying below it. It starts at Gaza’s border fence with Israel near the Nahal Oz kibbutz and finishes near the coast.

It also intersects with the Salah al-Din and al-Rashid roads, the two major arteries running through the territory.

Although there is a network of roads which connect east and west, the new IDF route is the only one which runs uninterrupted across Gaza.

Satellite imagery analysis by the BBC reveals that the IDF has built over 5km (3 miles) of new road sections to join up previously unconnected roads.

The initial section of the road in eastern Gaza near the Israeli border was established between late last October and early November. But most of the new sections were built during February and in early March.

The new route is wider than a typical road in Gaza, excluding Salah al-Din.

Imagery analysis also shows that buildings along the route, which appear to be warehouses, were demolished from the end of December until late January. This includes one building several stories high.

The road spans an area which previously had fewer buildings and was less densely populated than other parts of Gaza.

It also sits below a makeshift and winding route which the IDF had been using to move from east to west.

An Israeli TV channel reported on the route in February, saying it was code named “Highway 749”. A reporter from Channel 14 travelled along parts of the route with the Israeli military.

In the video, road construction vehicles and diggers were seen preparing for the construction of new sections of the route.

How ‘Highway 749’ could be used

Analysts at Janes, a defence intelligence company, said the type of unpaved road surface seen in the Channel 14 footage, was suitable for tracked armoured vehicles.

The IDF did not go into this type of detail in its statement. “As part of the ground operation, the IDF uses an operational route of passage,” it said.

Retired Brig Gen Jacob Nagel, former head of Israel’s National Security Council and a former security adviser to Mr Netanyahu, told BBC Arabic that the objective of the new route was to provide fast access for security forces when dealing with fresh threats.

“It will help Israel go in and out… because Israel is going to have total defence, security and responsibility for Gaza,” he told BBC Arabic.

He described it as “a road that divides the northern part from the southern part”.

“We don’t want to wait until a threat is emerging,” he added.

Maj Gen Yaakov Amidror, formerly of the IDF, had a similar view. The primary purpose of the new road was to “facilitate logistical and military control in the region”, he said.

Justin Crump, a former British Army officer who runs Sibylline, a risk intelligence company, said the new route was significant.

“It certainly looks like it’s part of a longer-term strategy to have at least some form of security intervention and control in the Gaza Strip,” said Mr Crump.

“This area cuts off Gaza City from the south of the strip, making it an effective control line to monitor or limit movement, and has relatively open fields of fire.”

Khaled Elgindy, a senior fellow at the US-based Middle East Institute, also thinks the road is a long-term project.

“It appears that the Israeli military will remain in Gaza indefinitely,” he told the BBC.

“By dividing Gaza in half, Israel will control not only what goes in and out of Gaza, but also movement within Gaza,” said the analyst.

“This includes quite possibly preventing the 1.5 million displaced Palestinians in the south from returning to their homes in the north.”

Additional reporting by Paul Cusiac, Alex Murray & Erwan Rivault

Seven must-try foods at Disney World

Food writer and Disney World aficionado Shay Spence shares his picks for the best food in Disney World, from fresh seafood at Flying Fish to churros at Nomad Lounge.
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Mickey Mouse and nostalgic rides may be the bread and butter of Walt Disney World, but the “most magical place on Earth” is housing a secret right under your nose (and fork): its equally magical underground culinary scene.

Fine dining in Orlando is undergoing a massive boom – since 2022, it now has four Michelin star restaurants, and one of them is Spanish-inspired steakhouse CAPA at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World. But this is hardly Disney World’s sole claim to culinary fame; its luxury accommodation properties are home to AAA Five Diamond-winning tasting menus, the only master sommelier-owned wine bar in Florida and a slew of Bib Gourmand and Michelin-recommended restaurants.

Even so, dining at Disney is largely misunderstood, with many visitors assuming the hotel and park menus are littered with nothing more than hot dogs. We asked Shay Spence – a Florida-based food writer and connoisseur of Disney dining – where to eat at Disney World and its associated Florida properties, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom and their on-site resorts. “I think the biggest misconception about Disney World food is that it’s all low quality and super expensive,” said Spence, who shares food reviews and cooking tips with his online audience of nearly two million.

“As far as quality goes, you don’t have to settle,” said Spence. “Disney has world class restaurants spanning just about every cuisine imaginable.” Still, he’s not above the classics: “Even standard theme park snacks like churros and corn dogs are next level if you know where to get them”. Disney’s most iconic eats, like Dole whip and massive turkey legs, may come to the mind first, but those treats are only the beginning – the Kingdom’s food and beverage team is constantly whipping up new creations from a secret on-site flavour lab. And with hundreds of restaurants to choose from in Florida’s premier holiday destination, it can prove to be a daunting task for the discerning palate 

Here are seven of Shay Spence’s favourite things to eat when visiting Walt Disney World.

Fresh fish may be an unexpected treat in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, but Spence recommends Flying Fish on Disney’s BoardWalk for excellent seafood (Credit: Carly Caramanna)

1. Best for seafood: Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk

“This is one of the most underrated restaurants in Disney World, hands down,” said Spence. Flying Fish is located on the picturesque BoardWalk, a turn-of-the-century style seaside promenade housing assorted amusements that beckon yesteryear. Disney World’s best seafood restaurant is the resort’s answer to contemporary refined dining – and expect the Mickey white glove treatment. “The service is effortlessly impeccable,” said Spence.

A robust line-up of sustainable seafood and ever-rotating seasonal plates await, but it’s one of the sophisticated spot’s long-time mainstays that serves as Spence’s go-to. “The signature potato-wrapped red snapper with leek fondue is crispy on the outside, flaky on the inside and really a modern marvel,” he said. While the menu does lean heavily into the under the sea variety, there are a few surprises. “Meat lovers will love the char-crusted New York Strip,” said Spence.

Website: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/boardwalk/flying-fish/Phone: (407) 939-3463

Spence enjoys eating nostalgic American fare at the quirky, vintage-themed Sci-Fi Dine in Theatre at Hollywood Studios (Credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

2. Best for vintage eats: Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre at Hollywood Studios

Delightfully quirky might be the best way to describe Spence’s next recommendation: the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. “Not all restaurants at Disney World are about the food,” said Spence. “It is a theme park after all, and you can’t beat the theming here.” Diners enter a darkened room and as their eyes adjust from the blazing Florida sun, they’ll be transported to a 1950’s drive-in theatre.

Guests dine on American comforts from inside vintage-style cars as they gaze up at a massive screen playing loops of old-timey favourites, like vintage kitchen appliance commercials and kitschy horror films. “I know there are some haters out there, but the secret here is to stick to the basics and not get any bright ideas,” said Spence. “Get yourself a burger, a shake, maybe some onion rings, and enjoy the show.”

He also enjoys it for this somewhat controversial reason. “I love a restaurant where you’re encouraged not to talk to the people you’re with, especially after spending days in a hot theme park together – everyone can just shut up and chill out for a bit.” 

Website: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/hollywood-studios/sci-fi-dine-in-theater/Phone: (407) 939-3463

Spence recommends both the churros and the cocktails at Animal Kingdom’s Nomad Lounge (Credit: Carly Caramanna)

3. Best for globally inspired cuisine: Nomad Lounge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Escapism is served on a silver platter at the resort’s most scenic locale, Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The theme park is a tried-and-true foodie haven known for its eclectic bites, but it’s the off-beat Nomad Lounge that is the favourite of Disney regulars, including Spence. “It’s just so pleasant, you don’t feel like you’re in a theme park,” he said. “And cocktails are almost always on point.” 

The menu of globally influenced small plates is ever changing – and Spence suggests not getting too attached to anything. But there is one dish that if removed could very well incite a riot: the churros. Spence calls them the “best churros at Disney World” – a far cry from the frozen-to-fried variety found elsewhere. The pillowy bites, surprisingly gluten-free, are served with accompanying dips, like a punchy strawberry-guava sauce.

Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, the adventure-themed lounge pours some of the best cocktails on property from an exclusive menu. Spence suggests the Snow Leopard Salvation, a twist on the Moscow Mule. Beer drinkers will enjoy the Kungaloosh Spiced Excursion Ale, a cardamom-forward amber ale brewed exclusively for Disney.

Website: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/animal-kingdom/nomad-lounge/Phone: (407) 939-3463

For some of Disney’s finest dining (and filet mignon), Spence heads to Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Credit: Carly Caramanna)

4. Best splurge: Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

When looking to splurge, Spence heads directly to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge resort. Situated on a lush savanna with towering African giraffes, you’ll question whether or not you’re really in central Florida at the replica safari lodge. And the well-themed resort is a hotbed of applauded dining. “The Indian-style bread service from Sanaa gets all the glory for good reason,” said Spence. “But my favourite thing to eat is actually from Jiko – The Cooking Place.”

Wood-burning ovens illuminate the resort’s upscale, but cosy steakhouse. Its menu of adventurous eats and twists on familiar food is prepared in an open show kitchen while a robust wine list houses the largest collection of South African pours outside of Africa.

But Spence’s attention remains solely focused on one dish: the oak-grilled filet mignon with chocolate-red wine demi-glace. “The oak-grilled filet comes with the most delicious, garlicky four-cheese mac,” said Spence. “I’ve never really ordered anything else off this menu because I’m so loyal to this dish.” Pleasing diners for many years, it’s the stuff of Disney legends making Jiko one of Disney’s toughest to land reservations.

Website: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/animal-kingdom-lodge/jiko-the-cooking-place/Phone: (407) 939-3463

Spice Road Table is EPCOT’s best culinary secret, serving Mediterranean-inspired tapas like Spence’s favourite, the tiropitakia (Credit: Carly Caramanna)

5. Best under-the-radar gem: Spice Road Table at EPCOT

While there are quite a few standout restaurants at EPCOT’s World Showcase – a small-scale World’s Fair comprising 11 country pavilions – Morocco’s Spice Road Table flies largely under the radar. “I really don’t know why this spot isn’t more popular, but I’m grateful I can always get a table here whenever I want it,” said Spence. The small menu is made up of Mediterranean-influenced tapas, with Spence’s favourite being the tiropitakia (cheese-filled phyllo triangles), a dish he says he dreams of regularly. “The menu really is banger after banger.” It’s also home to his favourite cocktail, the Moroccan Mule made with fig-infused vodka.

The atmosphere is transportive, with vibrant colours and gold accented lighting fixtures. And Spence has another secret about Disney World’s greatest hidden gem. “This is the perfect little secret viewing spot for EPCOT’s night-time fireworks show, Luminous.”

Website: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/spice-road-table/Phone: (407) 939-3463

Spence rates Sleepy Hollow in the Magic Kingdom as his top pick for the amusement park’s best snacks, like their signature Nutella waffle (Credit: Carly Caramanna)

6. Best guilty pleasure snacks: Sleepy Hollow Refreshments at Magic Kingdom

The kid-focused Magic Kingdom isn’t exactly known for its stellar food line-up, with one exception. “This is, without a doubt, the highest-quality quick service establishment in Magic Kingdom,” said Spence. Sleepy Hollow Refreshments is an unassuming kiosk tucked away in the park’s Liberty Square section that’s far too easy to walk right on by. Its menu is small but sees a welcome elevation to a Disney food rite of passage. “They have a Mickey waffle with strawberries and cream that’s so much better than any Mickey waffle you’ll get at your resort breakfast buffet,” said Spence.

A sweet waffle with Nutella and fresh fruit and a savoury waffle with crunchy slaw and spicy fried chicken are his other favourites. Spence enthusiastically proclaimed that Sleepy Hollow’s corn dogs are “the best in the business” and that he enjoys the made-to-order nature, hand-dipped and fried right before your eyes – “without a heat lamp in sight”.

Website: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/sleepy-hollow/Phone: (407) 939-3463

Karamell-Kuche at EPCOT’s Germany pavilion makes Spence’s favourite sweet Disney treat; the Gingerbread Salted Caramel Cookie Sandwich (Credit: Carly Caramanna)

7. Best dessert: Karamell-Küche at EPCOT

Park goers with a sweet tooth – and in the know – head directly to Karamell-Küche, located in the Germany pavilion at EPCOT. And they won’t have any trouble finding it thanks to the intoxicating aroma of caramel that flows from its doors. Spence sings praises of this tiny nook housing some of the best desserts to be found on mouse property, like signature Werther’s Original caramel popcorn.

“Everyone tells you to get the caramel corn (which is valid) but really the whole pastry case is an absolutely stacked all-star line-up of sweets,” said Spence. “It’s hard to go wrong, but the Gingerbread Salted Caramel Cookie Sandwich is simply the best cookie creation ever concocted.” Freshly baked, spiced gingerbread cookies are loaded with buttercream and salted caramel for a flavour as thrilling as a spin on Space Mountain.

Website: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/shops/karamell-kuche/Phone: (407) 939-3463

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Oscars 2024: How to watch and who is nominated

The biggest night in the entertainment calendar is finally upon us – the 96th Oscars.

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which has 13 nominations, is expected to sweep up at the ceremony later.

Many film fans will also be cheering on Barbie, last year’s biggest hit at the box office, which has eight nods.

US television host Jimmy Kimmel will be presenting the awards from Los Angeles, with the show starting at 16:00 (PT), 19:00 (ET) and midnight (GMT).

Here are all the hot talking points and things to look out for at the ceremony (we’ve already placed a bet on Margot Robbie wearing pink).

Why are the Oscars such a big deal?

More formally known as the Academy Awards, the Oscars have been recognising big screen talent since 1929.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, based in Los Angeles, annually nominate and vote across more than 20 categories including best picture, best actor and best actress.

While film awards ceremonies including the Golden Globes and the Baftas attract plenty of attention, the Oscars is the pinnacle of achievement in the awards season calendar. The awards are voted for by Academy members.

Which films are in the running?

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, about the life of the man who helped develop the atomic bomb, is leading the charge with 13 nominations including best picture, best actor (Cillian Murphy) and best supporting actress (Emily Blunt).

Titanic, Ben Hur and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King jointly hold the record for the most wins with 11, so could Oppenheimer match it or even do better?

  • 17 facts you need to know about this year’s Oscars
  • How to watch this year’s awards films
  • 10 things we spotted in the Oscars class photo

Its British-born filmmaker Nolan is the hot favourite to pick up best director. While his films have collected Oscars previously, the man behind movies including Interstellar, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises has never won this prestigious category.

In fact, despite his pedigree, he’s only been nominated for best director once previously (Dunkirk in 2018). This is surely his year.

Four out of five nominated directors this year are European (Nolan has dual US/British citizenship but he was born and grew up here so we’re claiming him).

If, as widely expected, Oppenheimer’s Robert Downey Jr picks up the award for best supporting actor, it will also be a first Oscar win for him.

Chasing down Oppenheimer with 11 nods is Yorgos Lanthimos’s brilliantly bizarre Poor Things. Its star, Emma Stone, is a frontrunner in the best actress race alongside Lily Gladstone from Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. If Gladstone triumphs – and it’s hard to call at this point – she will be the first Native American to win the award.

Killers of the Flower Moon, about the murder of members of the Osage Indian tribe by white settlers who are after their oil, scored 10 nominations in total.

Scorsese has now been nominated for a best director Oscar 10 times, which makes him the most nominated living director in Academy Awards history. He’s also the oldest best director nominee at 81.

His long-time collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker is the most nominated editor in history with nine nods, and this could be a record-breaking fourth win for her (she currently holds the joint record with three wins).

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock since Christmas (and we’ve all felt like doing it in this weather), Barbie director Greta Gerwig and the film’s star, Margot Robbie, missed out on individual nominations when they were announced in January.

Barbie did land eight nods in total though, with America Ferrara and Ryan Gosling recognised in the best supporting actress and supporting actor categories respectively. But it’s still not Kenough for some.

All the films above are up for the coveted best picture prize, and are joined by French courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall, romantic drama Past Lives, Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, incisive satire American Fiction, warm comedy tale The Holdovers and chilling Nazi drama The Zone of Interest.

What else is there to look out for?

The Barbenheimer juggernaut that sparked a thousand memes has done the Oscars no harm this year; the commercial success of these two films which have put bums on seats and also won over the critics, may bring new audiences to this year’s event.

While some categories appear to have it all wrapped up – The Holdovers’ Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Oppenheimer’s Robert Downey Jr have picked up pretty much every film prize going in the run-up to the Oscars – there could still be some surprises in store.

  • Lily Gladstone: The actress who could make Oscars history
  • Oscars 2024: List of nominations in full
  • Can anything stop Oppenheimer’s march to the Oscars?

The race for best actress between Stone and Gladstone is too close to call, but could Gladstone’s recent Screen Actors Guild (SAG) win get her over the line? That’s what happened with Michelle Yeoh last year.

However, Stone has the showier role as Poor Things’ charming protagonist Bella Baxter, while Gladstone’s dignified and resilient Molly Kyle in Flower Moon is a more understated part that enjoys considerably less screen time. It’s an intriguing contest.

Best actor is also up in the air with Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers) and Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer) in a two-horse race, although Murphy seems to have his nose in front following recent wins at Bafta and SAG. If he wins, he will be the first Irish-born actor to triumph, although Daniel Day-Lewis, who holds both British and Irish citizenship, has won three best actor Oscars previously.

In best picture, could The Holdovers pull an Argo, winning best picture for a film in which the director (Alexander Payne) isn’t nominated for best director? It will take some doing to overhaul the Oppenheimer steamroller, but stranger things have happened.

Slightly in the realms of fantasy now, but if Rustin’s Colman Domingo also pulls off a big shock by winning the Oscar for best actor for playing gay Civil Rights activist Bayard Rustin, he will be the first Afro-Latino actor to win the prize. And there are people of colour in every acting category.

Jodie Foster was nominated for best supporting actress for her portrayal of the gay swimming coach Bonnie Stoll in Nyad. It’s the first time two gay actors have been nominated for playing two gay characters in the same year.

There’s progress elsewhere, too. But it’s slow progress. Anatomy of a Fall’s Justine Triet is only the eighth woman to be nominated for best director (the Oscars director branch is made of up 75% men). However a record three films directed by women – Triet, Gerwig and Celine Song (Past Lives) – are up for best picture (out of a possible 10).

Other categories are also worth paying attention to – the short film and short animation categories are buckling under the strain of stardust this year.

Both shortlists are worth checking out in their own right but some names you might recognise include Wes Anderson, who has directed The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, a Roald Dahl adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Ralph Fiennes and Dev Patel.

Meanwhile, David Olewoyo stars in Misan Harriman’s The After, which tackles grief.

And Robbie Robertson could pick up a posthumous Oscar for best score for Killers of the Flower Moon. He sadly died aged 80 in August last year.

Dave Mullins, who worked at Pixar for 20 years, wrote and directed animated short War is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko. The famous pair’s son, Sean Lennon, is the executive producer.

Which stars are attending?

Anyone who is anyone will be there, is the short answer. Most of the nominees will be gracing the red carpet (we think it’s red anyway, last year they switched to a champagne colour but it got dirty very quickly).

Presenters include Zendaya, Al Pacino, Lupita Nyong’o, Bad Bunny, Dwayne Johson, Regina King, Matthew McConaughey, Mahershala Ali, Ke Huy Quan, Brendan Fraser and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Never mind the A-listers, we’re hoping Messi, the dog from Anatomy of a Fall, makes another star appearance.

Who is performing?

The best song nominees will all perform, including Barbie’s Ryan Gosling and Mark Ronson with I’m Just Ken. Gosling gave a hilarious reaction to the song’s win at the Critics’ Choice Awards earlier this year – bemused and almost suspicious.

Billie Eilish will also sing her Barbie track, the favourite to win, What Was I Made For?

Who is this year’s host?

US late night presenter Jimmy Kimmel returns to hosting duties this year – it will be his fourth time, including his stint at the helm last year, which marked a smooth return after the chaos of 2022’s ceremony when Will Smith slapped one of the awards presenters, Chris Rock.

Kimmel joked when his return was announced: “I always dreamed of hosting the Oscars exactly four times.” We bet it’s not his last, though.

How can I watch the Oscars?

The 2024 Oscars will air live on Sunday 10 March from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, where the ceremony has been held since 2002.

The show can be watched in the US on ABC and on various streaming services. It’s also broadcast around the world in more than 200 territories.

In the UK, you might actually be able to stay awake to watch this year. The awards start an hour earlier and the clocks in Los Angeles – PST – go forward an hour on Oscars Sunday. The show starts at 16:00 (PT), 19:00 (ET) and midnight (GMT). UK viewers can watch on ITV and ITVX from 22:30.

British and international buzz

As well as Nolan, other Brits in the running include Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer), Carey Mulligan (Maestro), Jonathan Glazer (director, The Zone of Interest), Jacqueline Durran (costume design, Barbie) and Holly Waddington (costume design, Poor Things).

And what about this for an effort? Special effects whizz Neil Corbould (who already has two Oscars under his belt) is up for three this year in the visual effects category for The Creator, Napoleon and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.

Meanwhile, if Sandra Huller picks up best actress (Anatomy of a Fall) she will be the first German to do so in 60 years.

It’s also the first time two international films not in the English language have been nominated for best picture in the same year (Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest).

Read more about some of the films in this year’s Oscars race:

  • Poor Things: Emma Stone: Sex scenes in Poor Things are ‘honest’
  • The Holdovers: Could this film be a new Christmas classic?
  • Barbie: Billie Eilish dedicates award to people struggling
  • Oppenheimer: Cillian Murphy film marches towards Oscars success
  • The Zone of Interest: Auschwitz film was ‘like Big Brother’ in house next to camp
  • American Fiction: White audiences ‘too comfortable with black clichés’
  • Rustin: The gay civil rights activist history forgot
  • The Color Purple: Stars want to make Oprah proud
  • Past Lives: The film on lost love that crosses continents
  • Killers of the Flower Moon: Lily Gladstone could make Oscars history
  • Society of the Snow: Society of the Snow film explores cannibalism and survival
  • Maestro: Why the Bradley Cooper nose row is complicated
  • 20 Days in Mariupol: Award-winning film in town’s ‘Ukrainian Sunday’
  • The Creator: The Creator’s Gareth Edwards on shaking up Hollywood
  • The After: David Oyelowo: I had to crack open my heart for this role