In an unexpected effort to redeem Kevin Hart's Oscar hosting chances, Ellen DeGeneres had the comedian on her talk show for an "authentic and real" conversation. DeGeneres is on Hart's side, and would like for him to host the 2019 Oscars, just as the Academy initially planned. DeGeneres invited Hart on her show for a segment, and he ended up staying the full hour to discuss the controversy.
In the released clips from the episode, DeGeneres calls him one of the "smartest" and "funniest" people she knows, and says she even went so far as to call the Academy on his behalf.
"I called the Academy today, because I really want you to host the Oscars," she said in clips from the interview. "I said, 'Kevin's on [the show], I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?'"
According to DeGeneres, the Academy said that it did still want Hart to host. "[They said] 'We want him to host," DeGeneres recalled, "'Whatever we can do, we would be thrilled.' The Academy is saying, 'What can we do to make this happen?'" DeGeneres then encouraged Hart to ignore "whatever's going on on the internet."
Said DeGeneres, "That is a small group of people being very very loud. We are a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars." Backlash to Hart's appearance on her show was almost immediate.
Hart stepped down from the 2019 Oscars hosting gig after his homophobic tweets resurfaced in early December. Hart, who pointed out he'd apologized for the tweets before, did not immediately apologize, and, by December 7, he had removed himself from the role. When he did, Hart apologized for his tweets, writing, "I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars...This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past."
On Ellen, Hart reiterated this point, claiming that he rejected the role because he felt that, no matter what, the night would be overshadowed by the controversy. He told DeGeneres that the tweet-finding had been an "attack" — not just an effort to vet his Oscar chances. "I got over 40,000 tweets. To go through 40,000 tweets to go to 2008 is an attack. That's a malicious attack on my character," said Hart. "That's an attack to end me." The comedian told DeGeneres that he is currently "reevaluating" his decision will will get back to her — and the public — soon.
Since his departure, the Oscars were reportedly considering an SNL-style ceremony with multiple personalities hosting throughout the night.
Watch the clip from the hour-long appearance, below. The rest of the interview, which does include some basic talk show patter about Hart's film The Upside, is currently available on EllenTube.