It is undoubtedly the biggest night of the showbiz calendar, but for the first time since 1989, the 2019 Oscars will proceed without a host.
According to Variety, producers are looking to a radical compromise of not having a set host for the ceremony this year; instead, they will select a number of A-list stars to introduce the various award segments.
The decision comes after Kevin Hart, who was originally named as host, removed himself from the role after homophobic tweets he'd made in 2011 resurfaced. At the time, Hart appeared reluctant to apologise for the remarks; however, he later admitted he regretted his "insensitive words" and directly apologised to the LGBTQ+ community for his actions.
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Hart also claimed he had been reevaluating his decision to step down, but in an interview with Good Morning America yesterday, the comedian confirmed he would not be presenting the awards show saying, “I’m not hosting the Oscars this year."
Sources say the Academy Awards production team are extremely worried about a hostless Oscars, as much of the draw for TV viewers is the hosts. The first (and only) time a televised Oscars went ahead without an official MC was in 1989, when an 11-minute musical number performed by actor Rob Lowe and Snow White replaced the traditional opening monologue.
Over the years, past hosts have included Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Hathaway and James Franco, Hugh Jackman and Chris Rock. With six weeks to go until the ceremony, it is highly unlikely that a replacement will be found.
Ratings for last year's ceremony hit an all-time low with a total of 26.5 million viewers, marking a 19% drop year-on-year, meaning all eyes will be on the Academy Awards when it airs on February 24.