It might be film’s biggest night of the year but the Oscars have been mired by controversy, scandal and disorder in 2019. After months of speculation, the Academy has finally announced yesterday that its ninety-first ceremony will have no host for the first time in three decades. But how can that work?
When actor and comedian Kevin Hart was named as the new host of the Oscars back in December 2018, it seemed as though everything was business as usual.
Just two days later, however, past jokes made by Hart emerged that many called homophobic, sparking his resignation.
Rumours that there would be no replacement for Hart were first reported in early January, with past hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Rock all expressing no desire to return.
Yesterday, the ceremony’s first raft of award presenters were announced – including Whoopi Goldberg, Daniel Craig and Jennifer Lopez – alongside confirmation from ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke that there would be no host.
Host-less awards ceremonies are not entirely unheard of. Indeed, this has been the case five times in the Oscars own history, most recently in 1989, when Rain Man was awarded Best Picture. That year was, however, panned by critics, who accused the show of lacking magic, with its opening number – ‘I Wanna Be An Oscar Winner’ – named an ’embarrassment’.
Hoping to avoid similar criticism this year, ABC have recruited an A-list line up of award presenters to compare the ceremony in rotation.
Thirteen Hollywood hotshots have so far been named as award presenters in 2019. Alongside Goldberg, Craig and Lopez, Crazy Rich Asians‘ Awkwafina and Constance Wu, Marvel stars Chris Evans, Brie Larson and Tessa Thompson, comics Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph, The Hate U Give‘s Amandla Stenberg and Mad Max and Tully‘s Charlize Theron will feature.
Without confirmation, we can only guess how the night itself will pan out but an opening number seems likely. Each of this year’s Best Original Songs will be performed – albeit in abridged versions – whilst winners have been asked to keep their speeches within ninety seconds.
A tribute to all those the entertainment world has lost in the past year – including Burt Reynolds, Stan Lee and Margot Kidder – is also expected to feature.
ABC, who produce the show, have expressed their desire to restrict the famously lengthy show to a ‘brisk three hours’ in 2019 but only time will tell.