With the Oscars, that grand finale of the psuedo-official awards season, just around the corner, viewers looking to tune in are likely readying their popcorn and their score cards to see which of their favorite films will fare best. Will it be heartwarming period piece Green Book? Marvel blockbuster Black Panther? Or maybe the quieter black-and-white Roma, which has garnered plenty of critical acclaim?Unfortunately the only thing we know for sure is that when the final winner is announced at the end of the night, there won’t be a 2019 Oscars host to toss out a hearty “... and goodnight!” to close out the evening. Yep, in case you're lucky enough to have missed all the drama: for the first time in three decades, there won’t be a host at the 91st annual Oscars, thanks to a series of very public, very controversial events that unfolded in December. Here's what you missed:
Kevin Hart Was The Oscars Host
Comedian Kevin Hart was initially tapped as the host for Hollywood’s biggest night, following in the footsteps of late night host Jimmy Kimmel, who helmed the show for the last two years. The announcement came in early December, to much celebration and congratulations; his role would have made him only the sixth African American to host the awards show, after Sammy Davis Jr., Richard Pryor, Diana Ross, Whoopi Goldberg, and Chris Rock.
But Then, Kevin Hart Wasn't The Oscars Host
Not soon after the announcement, however (literally, hours after), several of Hart's old tweets from 2009, 2010, and 2011 began to resurface, revealing an entire collection of homophobic sentiments and anti-gay slurs. Hart refused to apologize for his words in a tense video clip he shared with fans, in which he stated that he believed in growth, and that he was no longer the person he once was. The non-apology didn’t go over well with fans, and the Academy issued an ultimatum: either he apologized, or he forfeit the gig.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's,” he tweeted on Dec. 6, “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.”
But Ellen Still Wanted Him To Host
Hart’s fate seemed to have been sealed, the case closed. But then, in early January, Ellen DeGeneres invited Hart onto her show and all but insisted that the disgraced comedian be given another chance. During the show, DeGeneres told Hart that he should reconsider the hosting gig, and not be intimidated by “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,” she said, adding that she had reached out to the Academy asking them to offer Hart another chance.
And Hart Declined Again
Even if that truly were the case, however, the second chance never came, because Hart once again declined the opportunity. “The moment came and it was a blessing and I was excited at the opportunity and I still am,” he told Variety at the time. “In my mind I got the job, it was a dream job, and things came up that simply prohibited it from happening. But I don’t believe in going backwards.”
So Now, The Oscars Have No Host... Which Is Going To Be Interesting
As of Jan. 9, the Oscars were officially host-less. According to Variety, however, the ceremony will still be star-studded, with a “crop of A-listers” introducing different awards and categories, and possibly even engaging in musical numbers to lighten the already-tense mood. Everyone still remembers 1989’s hostless Oscars and the “Proud Mary” musical number, right?