The 2012 Oscars are approaching fast. Find out here when everything is going down at this year's Academy Awards and what TV channel the ceremony will be on.

The 2012 Oscars will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26, and all the stars are getting ready for the big day. Featuring a showdown in the Best Actor category between Brad Pitt and George Clooney, and Billy Crystal returning as the host, the night promises to be one of the best Oscars in recent memory.

The ceremony -- which will take place in Hollywood's Kodak Theater as it has since 2001 -- will be broadcast live on ABC, beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern/4 p.m. Pacific. To determine which channel is ABC on your cable provider, consult channel information for Time Warner CableDirecTVDish and Comcast, which is available on their Web sites.

This year's Oscars will also be available to watch on the Web via a free online live stream, which you will be able to learn more about on ABC's Web site in the days leading up to the main event.

This year's Academy Awards are the 84th, and there are plenty of thrills to be expected, as once again there are 10 films up for Best Picture this year, though for decades there were only five nominees for the top prize.

Many of Hollywood's biggest stars will be presenting at the 2012 Oscars, including Halle Barry, Penelope Cruz, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Tom Hanks and Angelina Jolie.

A number of other events will take place before the big day. Awards in many categories will be presented in the week before the Oscars at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills:

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the awards for animated and live-action short films will be presented at 7:30 p.m. On Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m., the awards for documentaries will be presented. The awards for animated features will be awarded at the Animated Feature Symposium Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Feb. 25, the awards for foreign-language films will be awarded at 10 a.m., followed at 2:30 p.m. by the awards for makeup artists and hairstylists.

The Academy Awards have a long and colorful history. According to the Oscars' official Web site, the first Academy Awards ceremony took place out of the public eye during an Academy banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Two hundred seventy people attended the May 16, 1929, dinner in the hotel's Blossom Room; guest tickets cost $5. It's come a long way since then.

A timeline of many of the key events of the 2012 Academy Awards is listed below:

  • Dec. 27, 2011 - Nominations ballots mailed
  • Jan. 13, 2012 - Nominations polls close 5 p.m. PT
  • Jan. 24, 2012 - Nominations announced 5:30 a.m. PT, Samuel Goldwyn Theater
  • Feb. 1, 2012 - Final ballots mailed
  • Feb. 6, 2012 - Nominees Luncheon
  • Feb. 11, 2012 - Scientific and Technical Awards presentation
  • Feb. 21, 2012 - Final polls close 5 p.m. PT
  • Feb. 26, 2012 - 84th Academy Awards presentation