The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences is weighing on a potential host-less Oscars this year after comedian Kevin Hart quit amid a hell-storm of criticism over refusing to apologize for gay jokes he made back in 2009.
According to the report, Academy leadership have been “scrambling” to find a replacement for Kevin Hart and have mulled the option of just not having a host at all this year. Variety’s Matt Donnelly reports, citing sources with first-hand knowledge of Academy board meetings, that the academy was “blindsided” by Hart’s resignation. One unnamed comedy agent told Variety that the award show’s producers were not prepared, with a backup plan, for Hart’s ouster, saying “They’re freaking out” at the Academy.
“I think it’s embarrassing,” Matthew Belloni, the editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, said about the academy’s decision to pick Hart. “It shows that they either didn’t vet this host properly, or they did vet him and didn’t think this would be an issue. And both are a little troubling.”
“He checks all the boxes for a show like the Oscars,” Belloni said. “He’s a legitimate movie star. He’s a funny guy and can handle the stand-up element of the show. And he has a gigantic social following. And to the academy, that’s important. They want someone who can bring a new audience to the show.”
“Oscars host has become a not very desirable job in Hollywood. Very few people see an upside,” Belloni said. “You put a huge target on your back.”
If the Academy opts for a host-less event this year, it would mark the first time doing so since 1989.