Love 'em or hate 'em, millions around the world tune in each year for the melodrama, the tears, the frocks, the excruciating speeches, and the occasional faux pas.
It's all totally over the top. At least, it is to us mere mortals. The movies themselves rarely live up to the gilded words and the self-aggrandising promise of the Oscars ceremony. But those coveted little gold men can seal careers and ensure a healthy future in the movie business for anyone fortunate enough to walk away with one in gripped fist.
Fittingly, the first Academy Awards were handed out at the peak of the stock market in 1929, and movies had begun to talk.
The Oscars ceremony starts at 5pm Pacfic Time (1am GMT)