There’s plenty of action going on behind-the-scenes at the ceremony, and PEOPLE is on the scene backstage to bring you all things seen and heard from inside the ceremony. Keep checking back for the latest…
5 p.m. PT
It’s a half hour until showtime and backstage at the Dolby Theatre is buzzing. While some crew are enjoying the calm before the storm – one checks Facebook while another writes in a Word Search puzzle book – a selection of A-listers mill about: Priyanka Chopra ducks into the restroom, Whoopi Goldberg walks by the wings smiling and Joy Mangano, the inspiration for Jennifer Lawrence‘s character in Joy, chats with her daughter. “It’s the Oscars!” says Kerry Washington as she makes her way backstage, a few steps behind Charlize Theron.
5:20 p.m. PT
More A-listers moving through the backstage area 20 minutes before show time. “They haven’t mopped the floor!” jokes Emily Blunt after leaving the restroom. “I’m free!” says Sarah Silverman fresh from the carpet. Heavily pregnant Chrissy Teigen breathes out as she walks just in front of hubby John Legend
Michael Strahan, about to get a crash choreography lesson, says hi to Sofia Vergara, who walks to the unisex restroom and waits for her turn. A dapper Ryan Gosling swishes by in one direction as Cate Blanchett goes the other. Basically it’s a super-duper, A-list backstage bash with stars and crew and production teams descending in one small corridor and move in some unspoken symbiotic flow. “Hydrate everybody!” yells one Academy staffer…
5:25 p.m. PT
Host Chris Rock resurfaces with five minutes to go. “Hey man!” Jared Leto says to Louis CK as the two converge on the bathroom. Leto launches into a conversation about a technology project he’s working on… “10 minutes!” announces a production crew guy. Rock, in a white tux jacket, arrives and walks though backstage and yells for all to hear “Ghost in the building! Ghost in the building!”
5:30 p.m. PT
While the show’s opener starts, Charlize Theron takes a sip of water in the wings and watches on a backstage screen as she waits with Emily Blunt, whose hands are crossed under her pregnant belly … When Chris Rock takes the stage, Theron and Blunt watch the monitor closely and they never take their eyes off the screen throughout the monologue. “That’s awesome,” says Blunt at one point. “Oh my god!” says Theron, laughing at a Will Smith joke, as she holds up her red dress train.
5:50 p.m. PT
“Nailed it! Nailed it!” says Blunt, playfully victorious, as she and Theron make their way off stage having finished their presenting duties. Sam Smith, waiting in the wings, sips water and has his forehead blotted by an aide as it gets closer to his live performance. Walking off stage, Ryan Gosling says hi to Smith before the singer moves during commercial to a microphone to do a few vocal exercises. Me awhile Sarah Silverman practices her lines aloud.
6 p.m. PT
Kerry Washington has a playful conversation with Chris Evans backstage, as they stand next to Sarah Silverman, busy working on her lines aloud and getting increasingly concerned that edits she requested have not been made. “Why do things like this always happen to me?” says Silverman. Washington turns to her and says reassuringly: “Because God knows you can handle it!”
6:22 p.m. PT
After Alicia Vikander’s acceptance speech, Cate Blanchett, having her dress feathers fixed, wishes Vikander a huge “Congratulations!” as she walks by in the wings, almost in disbelief, holding her Oscar. After Vikander walks out into the hallway, Jennifer Garner and Benicio del Toro make their way backstage. A staffer touches up Garner’s under-eye makeup before she and del Toro hunker down together under the monitor to go over their lines. When Chris Rock makes a good-natured joke at Carol‘s expense (Cate Blanchett was on stage at the time), del Toro laughs out loud.
6:27 p.m. PT
Cate Blanchett exits the stage and puts her arms around Garner and del Toro, still watching the monitor. Del Toro gives Blanchett a hug and Garner says she’s in awe at how Blanchett nailed the “walking and talking” thing on stage. As Garner and del Toro get ready to walk to the stage, del Toro steps on Garner’s dress. She sweetly frees her train and says playfully to him: “Now look here, you have one job to do!”
6:45 p.m. PT
Making her way back off-stage with del Toro, Garner is all smiles and gives a thumbs up. Meanwhile in the makeshift make-up room, Jason Segal gets a quick touch-up before bumping into John Legend as he walks by. “I’m a big fan!” Segal says to Legend, as he shakes his hand. While Olivia Munn gets a make-up touch-up, presenter lines in hand, Reese Witherspoon breezes by in the hallway, Chris Evans, holds a glass of champagne, passes Munn, who says to an upbeat Evans: “I need a glass of champagne!”
6:55 p.m. PT
A path is cleared as R2-D2 and C-3PO zip along to get ready to head out on stage. They are soon joined by BB8, who rolls past gathered photographers and production staff. No one has evoked as much excitement amongst the gathered backstage crew and photographers as the Star Wars droids. C-3P0 looks up at a clip of Ex Machina on the monitor and says in that computer voice of his, “Yes I like this one!” Soon, he and his fellow droids are led onto the stage to much applause.
7:20 p.m. PT
Kevin Hart has a light-hearted pow-wow with Olivia Munn in the hallway backstage. Before Munn heads out, Hart insists on showing her a video clip of himself in the audience at the Oscars, on his phone, drawing a laugh. “Hi Kevin!,” says Reese Witherspoon as the two pass in the wings during The Weeknd’s performance. “Thank you for doing this,” Oscars producer Reginald Hudlin says to Witherspoon, now standing beside her co-presenter Kate Winslet. When a glam squad person starts brushing Witherspoon’s hair for a touch-up, she says, “I might fall asleep tho if you keep doing that. I’m like a cat!”
7:50 p.m. PTAfter presenting, Reese Witherspoon heads backstage to look for her husband Jim Toth, who was waiting for her in the green room. Before heading out, Witherspoon hugs Winslet goodbye and, during a brief chat, tells her: “I’m turning 40!” Before she goes onstage to present, Whoopi Goldberg watches Chris Rock do his PricewaterhouseCoopers gig in the monitor and giggles. “I’m stuck in this dress like a sausage casing!” says Goldberg, before she makes her way to the stage.
8 p.m. PT
Joe Biden strolls backstage and soon after Lady Gaga suddenly appears, barefoot and upbeat, moving forward as she hops from foot to foot. As Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs walks off stage, she and Gaga cross paths and high five each other! As the In Memoriam wraps up and the show moves to commercial break, Gaga takes her seat at a white piano backstage. She plays a bit of her Oscar-nominated song “Til It Happens” on the piano and practices singing much of the song. When she’s done with the mini-backstage rehearsal, the gathered production staff claps. Poised at the white piano, Gaga on a moving platform is pushed out to the stage.
The 88th annual Awards are being presented live on ABC from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.