1) Academy Awards, 8 p.m. ET, ABC. This could turn out to be deadly dull. Lately, acceptance speeches have been dreary lists, thanking agents and such. This year’s best-picture nominees – “Nomadland,” “Mank,” “Minari,” “Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “The Father,” “Sound of Metal” and “Promising Young Woman” – are worthy, but few people have seen them in theaters. The show needs humor and music, but has no host; movie stars — Brad Pitt (shown here), Halle Berry, etc. — will help out. And songs have been banished to the pre-show.
2) Oscar previews. The E channel will have its “Brunch at the Oscars” at 3 p.m. ET, with a variation on its red-carpet coverage (from Los Angeles and New York) at 5. More promising is the ABC preview at 6:30, ET including all five nominated songs; performers are Leslie Odom Jr., H.E.R., Diane Warren, Celeste, Daniel Pemberton, Laura Pausini and Molly Sanders. And both plan post-Oscar hours – 11 p.m. ET on E, 11:35 (after the news) on ABC.
3) “My Grandparents’ War” finale, 8 p.m., PBS. At the same time that Carey Mulligan is up for an Oscar (for “A Promising Young Woman”), we see her learn about her grandfather. A quiet Welsh farm kid, he studied radar in college, then was whisked to the Pacific … where his ship was the first hit by a kamikaze plane. In a moving hour, she also flies to Japan to learn about kamikaze pilots and their kin. That’s followed at 9 by “Atlantic Crossing,” with Martha pressured to lobby FDR for aid to Norway.
4) “43 Portraits: George W. Bush,” 10 p.m. ET, Fox News Channel. Dana Perino talks to the 43rd president and his wife, about his book, which has 43 portraits of American immigrants, with their stories. Some of them will be profiled here, including people who survived ordeals in Lebanon, Cambodia and North Korea, then found success in the U.S.
5) ALSO: The other big networks tend to avoid competing with the Oscars. CBS has reruns, starting with “The Equalizer” at 8, tangling Robyn in a financial-technology scheme. Fox also has reruns; on “The Simpsons,” Bart is caddie at 7 p.m. and Cletus is a singing sensation at 8. NBC has “Fate of the Furious” (2017) at 8, with large guys (Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham) on edge.