What Time Do The 2016 Oscars Start? Past Ceremonies Prove You Can't Miss The Opening Number

The annual Oscars ceremony is approaching, and the anticipation of what's going to happen is creating just as much dramatic tension as some of the nominated films. With Chris Rock hosting the show, it's not going to be long into the proceedings before quotes start making their way onto Twitter, most likely relating to the ongoing #OscarsSoWhite controversy, or one of the million other crazy things happening the Hollywood, or America as a whole. To make sure you don't miss anything, you'll have to know what time the 2016 Oscars are on. Rock has long been one of the most intelligent voices working in comedy, providing commentary on race, violence, and American politics — and it's not likely that he's going to tone things down for the Oscars. Anyone who wants to catch the opening needs to tune in from the very beginning.

This year, the Academy Awards will be making their way onto ABC on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET. (5:30 p.m. PT), not including any of the pre-show or red carpet coverage. While the opening monologue for this year's broadcast promises to spark discussion as much as it does laughter, the opening of the Oscars is famous for its comedic monologues, as well as the outstanding musical numbers. Here's a look at Oscar openings of years past that give an idea of just how much goes into an Oscar opening.

Neil Patrick Harris, 2015

It's almost a cliché at this point that Neil Patrick Harris appears on an awards show — be it Tony, Emmy, or Oscar — and delivers a show-stealing performance. The 2015 Oscars were no exception, as the opening number reminded the world that the Gone Girl co-star is as highly regarded as he is for a reason: he puts on a great show.

Ellen DeGeneres, 2014

Oscars on YouTube

A comedic monologue may not seem like as much work as a large opening number, but the tightly constructed jokes along with DeGeneres' playful and mischevious energy makes a strong case for giving a comedian time at the beginning of the show to take a little bit of ego out of Hollywood.

James Franco & Anne Hathaway, 2011

Oscars on YouTube

Widely considered one of the worst awards show hosting performances of all time, the combination of James Franco and Anne Hathaway at first sounds like a match made in Hollywood heaven, and they did a pretty good job in the beginning. A filmed bit featuring the hosts making fun of the year's nominated movies kicked things off in a fun fashion, but what ended up following was a series of awkward exchanges between the two that continued every time they stepped out on stage. It certainly wasn't the best hosting the Oscars have seen, but it was (and continues to be) a lot of fun to talk about.

Hugh Jackman, 2009

Oscars on YouTube

It doesn't get better than this. Hugh Jackman performed a charming, quaint opening number with a series of low-budget sets and costumes with a cameo appearance from future Les Misérables co-star Hathaway. This unique energy brought about one of the best award show openings ever, and hopefully, the spirit of doing "something different" with an awards show opener will help Rock construct a strong, passionate opening monologue that will have everyone talking.

There are plenty of reasons to watch the Oscars: The well-dressed celebrities, the fact that Leo might finally get that trophy, and the likelihood of Jennifer Lawrence doing something relatable. However, if you want to see what will likely be one of the most talked-about moments of this Oscar ceremony, you'll want to tune in right at 8:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 28.

Image: Andrew Eccles/ABC