The last time the Oscars went ahead with no host was in the late 80s. In lieu of a single overarching presenter, producer Allan Carr and director Jeff Margolis gave viewers an 11-minute musical number by way of an opener. Actor Rob Lowe did a widely panned version of Proud Mary with Snow White, of all things, and the overall production has been described in some circles as responsible for ruining Carr’s career.
Maybe the next time around will be different. We’ll certainly know soon enough, as the Oscars seem poised to try to go in that direction — without a host — once again, according to a new report in Variety.
“As it stands,” the publication reports, “no new offers are out, nor are any expected to be made to a single potential host to fill the void left by Kevin Hart, who dropped out within hours of being selected when he refused to apologize for his past homophobic remarks that had resurfaced on Twitter.” Variety goes on to note that, barring some last-minute change in plans by the Academy in which a superstar host gets secured after all, next month’s return of the yearly awards ceremony is going to feel instead a little like a variety show.
We’ll instead be treated to star-studded skits and see the replacement of what no doubt would have been a host’s anti-Trump monologue with a celebration of what’s been a banner year for the box office. Variety quotes unnamed sources as saying producers of the ceremony are going to tap various A-listers to introduce segments, giving us the equivalent of lots of mini-hosts instead of one emcee.
This has only happened the one time before, so it’s certainly a major shakeup for the high-profile show. Though, coincidentally, changes had already been in the works to de-emphasize a single host this year anyway, even before the Academy found itself in this position. The changes include shaving the runtime to three hours and cutting less prominent award categories from the live show.
Still, all of this came together rather suddenly and in a manner that was not planned whatsoever. “The Academy had been considering welcoming Hart back if he had used the opportunity in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres to demonstrate contrition for his anti-gay jokes and recommit to hosting the show,” Variety reported today. “But his sit-down with DeGeneres, a sympathetic friend, backfired when he was made out to be the victim of internet trolls and ‘haters’ rather than the perpetrator of hateful remarks.”