Wow, the Academy still isn’t close to naming a replacement host for the Oscars

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This weekend is Golden Globes Weekend. There will be parties and events and last-minute screenings and big pushes for certain actors or films. The day after the Globes, Oscar nomination voting begins, and the Oscar nominations will be announced January 22. The next six weeks, this is all the prime calendar-time for Oscar campaigning. I expect to see Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and the women of The Favourite EVERYWHERE. But lost in all of the Oscar-campaigning shuffle is this: this year’s Oscars still don’t have a host!! Kevin Hart was announced as the host back in December, but he ended up quitting the gig in a flurry of bad PR and homophobia. Since then, the Academy is all “uh, what do we do now??”

The Hollywood Reporter has a breakdown of why all of this is so odd, and what the Academy’s options are at this point – you can read the story here. Rarely has a host been named this late in the Oscar season, and finding a replacement for Hart hasn’t been easy because ABC has no idea what “the kids” want to see.

What is known is what the Academy and ABC, which broadcasts the Oscars, do not want. They do not want someone who is socially divisive (especially after the Hart debacle), having concluded that politically-outspoken hosts have contributed to the show’s ratings declines in recent years; and they do not want someone who primarily appeals to older viewers, who are likely to watch the show regardless of who hosts.

One or both of these prerequisites probably rules out most past hosts — the AARP-eligible Billy Crystal (whose appearance in blackface at the 84th Oscars is also problematic), Steve Martin, David Letterman, Stewart and Goldberg, plus the controversial Alec Baldwin (who plays Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live), Seth MacFarlane (who was accused of being misogynistic at the 85th Oscars) and Chris Rock (who made Asian kids the butt of a joke at the 88th). And one or both of those reasons would probably preclude some other interesting candidates — such as Ricky Gervais, Hannah Gadsby, RuPaul, John Oliver, Sarah Silverman, Bill Maher or Dave Chappelle — from receiving an invitation.

Further complicating matters is the Hart factor. Anyone who has been approached since Hart’s withdrawal knows — and knows that everyone else will know — that he or she was a backup option, a second choice. Moreover, people who might consider hosting in other years, such as Dwayne Johnson, are probably reluctant to accept this year, not wanting to look like they are benefiting from the misfortunes of a friend.

The list of options is further winnowed by other considerations. The host cannot be someone closely associated with a rival broadcast network — like Kimmel’s late-night competitors from CBS, Stephen Colbert or James Corden, or NBC, Jimmy Fallon or Seth Meyers, or probably even someone from the scripted side like Sterling K. Brown of NBC’s This Is Us. The host also cannot be someone who has already agreed to host a competing awards show this season, such as Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg (the Golden Globes) or Megan Mullally (the SAG Awards). And the host won’t be Tiffany Haddish, whose performance at last year’s Oscar nominations announcement knocked her out of the running as far as the Academy’s president was concerned, even before her New Year’s Eve meltdown in Miami; Amy Schumer, who is very pregnant; or Hugh Jackman, who is already training several hours a day for his recently announced worldwide concert tour that will begin in the spring.

Some people who undoubtedly are on the Academy’s wish-list have explicitly stated that they will never agree to host the Oscars — among them, Justin Timberlake, Melissa McCarthy, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Krasinski, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. And others who might well do a good job — such as Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Kumail Nanjiani, Busy Phillips, Josh Gad, Billy Eichner or Ken Jeong (Whoopi Goldberg’s preferred choice) — probably lack the sort of profile needed to garner ABC’s support.

[From THR]

THR goes on to say that ABC will probably have to call in some favors to get Jimmy Kimmel to host again as a last resort, or maybe get Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt to do it, because Mary Poppins Returns is a Disney movie (and Disney owns ABC). And of course Ellen DeGeneres could conceivably get a call too – the last time she hosted, the Oscars actually gained viewership. Other names being floated? Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, John Legend, Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Wiig and Neil Patrick Harris. This is such a mess!! My God. I honestly feel like Jennifer Lawrence would be a good Oscar host – she’s quite funny, she works hard, and she could do pratfalls. Out of the larger list (above)… Kumail Nanjiani. He would be great. Put Kumail and J-Law together!! F–k it, it’s so random, it could really work.

Also: it’s a shame they haven’t given Seth Meyers more consideration – he works for NBC – because he would be amazing. John Oliver deserves more consideration too!! The Academy loves a British accent, and they would love to hear Oliver’s dulcet tones for four hours. John Oliver and Kumail. That’s what should happen.

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58 Responses to “Wow, the Academy still isn’t close to naming a replacement host for the Oscars”

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  1. Lucy says:

    Idk if (potential) nominees get to host but hire Bo Burnham!!! Also make him perform a musical number!!!!!!

  2. uninspired username says:

    Wait, what’d Hannah Gadsby do?

    I like the idea of Lin-Manuel Miranda.

    • Mia4s says:

      She didn’t “do” anything. But she could be considered divisive I suppose for calling out trash men on their s**t. Men are REALLY sensitive about her…which is why I love her. 😁

      Almost zero chance Lin-Manuel will do it. He’s performing Hamilton in Puerto Rico until the end of January which would take us to less than a month before the Oscars. That would be brutal.

    • Wasabi says:

      She’s politically outspoken and they don’t want to piss off the old white audience. The sexist, homophobic, and racist type, you know.

    • chai35 says:

      Watch her opening at the Women of Hollywood breakfast to see why. The Oscars would never want someone that has opinions to host…

  3. greyate says:

    Cagney and Lacey

  4. Hazel says:

    Graham Norton, yeah, he’s not big in the US but they have to try something new at this point right?

  5. Emily says:

    Mindy Kailing would be a great host.

  6. BooRadley says:

    My vote: the cast of infinity War!! Just a rotation of the Chris’s, Scarlet, Chadwick, Angela Bassett etc. Done. you’re welcome ABC now give me my money.

  7. Rescue Cat says:

    Nicolas Cage would do a good job. There’s a lot a love for him these days too, so he’d be a popular choice.

  8. Marjorie says:

    Olivia Munn hosted the Critic’s Choice awards last year and was pretty good, and funny. Just saying, I know it wouldn’t happen.

  9. Becks1 says:

    Honestly I think the big issue is that the show is trying to lure younger viewers with its host, but the movies that are nominated and tend to win are probably movies that appeal to older audiences (I don’t know anyone my age who saw The Shape of Water in the theater, for example, and I’m 36. I imagine the same holds true for younger people too.) So while I always watch the Oscars, I am finding the show progressively more boring because I just haven’t seen so many of the movies. if a movie comes out in December, and the Oscars are the end of February, the chances are slim to none that I’ll have seen it by then.

    Then factor in that the hosts are usually awkward, and that the show is so incredibly long, and they have so many damn montages, etc – and yeah, I can see why they are losing viewers. And the hosts are only one part of that equation.

  10. RBC says:

    Oscar producers call WANDA SYKES!! She would be great!

  11. HelloSunshine says:

    Please not J Law. I find her so tiring and almost all of my friends feel the same way. The JLaw fatigue comes on quickly whenever she starts making appearances again, I wouldn’t bother even trying to watch the show if she were the host.
    Now is Kumail was the host, I’d be all over that! His voice was one of my favorite things about adventure time lol

    • garnet says:

      God, imagine Jennifer just sucking up all the oxygen and shrieking for three hours. Absolute hell.

  12. Jane says:

    In all honesty, the Oscars have been boring for the last few years (except for when Ellen hosted). Gone are the days when Billy Crystal hosted, sending some of some of us into a pool of laughter and watching was actually enjoyable.

    Let’s be frank, many people just watch the pre- Oscar arrivals just to see what the women are wearing. I do not know too many people who watch all 2-3 hours of the show anymore. They will wait until the next day as news media will have the results and replays of any best or worst moments. They save themselves from the cringe-worthy or downright boring moments. There have been plenty of them throughout the years.

    They should just have someone back stage announce the actresses and actors coming out on stage, deliver the awards and get the h*** out of there.

    • Tiffany says:

      Agree.

      -signed, someone who misses Billy Crystal

      • jan90067 says:

        I used to really look forward to the opening numbers (when Crystal, Martin et al) opened the show. Those were the best part of it. Now.. eh… Perhaps they should just go “host-less”, and get some really great duos to do more unscripted chatter in-between (those who write those painful fills should just stay home!). Seriously asking: with ALL the rehearsals they do beforehand, WHY do they read the leadoffs (and so very badly) from the prompters as if it’s the first time they’ve seen it?

  13. Nikki says:

    IF they’re really trying to lure younger viewers, then really…get John Mulaney and Nick Kroll! I’m in my 30s and love them, and I’m thinking (hoping), that people younger than me love them, as well. They hosted the Independent Spirit Awards two years in a row, and are honestly hilarious!

    • jan90067 says:

      John Mulaney is hysterically funny! I would also love John Oliver and John Stewart together. Now *that* is a show I’d watch!

  14. Caitlin Bruce says:

    Shame they don’t want anyone political cause I’d kill to see Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin host! Grace and Frankie know how to light up a room!

  15. Lightpurple says:

    Somebody needs to tell the Hollywood Reporter that anyone over age 50 is eligible for AARP, not just Billy Crystal. I understand the need to bring in younger viewers but that shouldn’t be done at the expense of others and age-bashing is NOT okay. It is discriminatory and age is a protected class, just like race and gender and religion and ethnicity and sexual orientation.

    A tip for making the show a little less boring: watch the movies in the less famous categories. Netflix makes an effort to have most of the nominated documentaries, both short and long form, once the nominees come out and many art museums or art house theaters do screenings of the animated and live action shorts. Some of the best films I have seen in recent years are the live-action shorts. Also, AMC usually does a two weekend Oscar showcase during which they air all the films nominated for Best Picture on two Saturdays. You can do one Saturday or both Saturdays.

    • Miles says:

      Apart from people not watching most of the movies nominated, another reason why these awards shows are boring is because we already know who’s gonna win. There is no element of surprise. And the hosts haven’t done a good job in keeping viewers engaged. So when you already know who’s gonna win and the host is insufferable/boring, what’s the point of watching?

    • LadyT says:

      Thanks for that information Lightpurple.

  16. Miles says:

    Not many people find Jlaw’s schtick funny or endearing anymore. So I don’t think she’d be a good host.

    But if they’re struggling this hard to find a host, it goes to show you how
    much appeal these awards shows have lost in such a short period of time. I mean even the Globes haven’t announced presenters. They’ve announced like 2. Which is weird this close to an awards ceremony.

    I also feel like another layer to it, is the society we live in where people go digging deep into people’s pasts to get dirt on them/things they’ve said. I’m sure no one in Hollywood (or anyone honestly) has been perfect all their life. None of them prob want things from long ago that they prob forgot they said or tweeted to come out and then having to deal with that PR nightmare. Especially when the gig itself, The Oscars, has been a downfall for years. Not really worth the PR nightmare that may occur.

  17. SJhere says:

    I won’t be watching. Don’t care at all. Since I can see the gowns on the Net the next day, why watch?
    Oh, truly agree that JLaw is not interesting at all.

    I might have watched if they had gotten Eddie Murphy, but Eddie doesn’t need their money or publicity.

  18. Beep says:

    I always thought Terry Crews would be a great host, funny, part of the #Metoo movement, not too edgy for a network.

  19. FC says:

    LMM, Kumail, John Oliver, and John Mulaney are my top picks.

  20. manta says:

    Why would you pick a host based on what kids want to see? They’re not exactly the target audience.
    I just recently watched old clips of arrivals and opening numbers. Johnny Carson was your suave host, an actual orchestra conducted by a real maestro (Conti) played the nominated scores. Brilliant, effective. And then, the sensations of the day and the newcomers such as Michael Jackson, Prince, Travolta, Ryan O’Neal or whichever flavor of the moment were there to perform or present.
    The host is here to pass the plates. If you think you must actually pick someone appealing to young people (again, why, they don’t watch), save them for presenting or a short skit.

    • Erinn says:

      They’re not trying to get literal kids to watch. They’re trying to drag in the young adults/late teens because they know that the awards are stale and if they want to keep going they need to bring in younger viewers. Who exactly is the target audience, though? Like… if the target audience is the same people who were hauled into watching in their 30′s 20+ years ago, they’re alienating a lot of younger people, and they expect millennials to outnumber boomers this year.

      I think the smartest thing would be to bring in someone younger and fresh – possibly Bo Burnham like someone above suggested – and pair them with someone older but who can appeal to a relatively wide audience and have them play off of each other.

      • manta says:

        Wow, they’re not targetting actual children ?For real? Thanks for the condescension.
        Oscars have been going on for decades and have never been a young people thing.
        Just a look at previous winners/nominees tell me that the 20 yo crowds weren’t exactly queuing in multiplexes to watch Terms of endearment, Howards end or Birdman or The Shape of water or Phantom Thread.

        Why would a younger audience who doesn’t care about cinema nor awards (if you believe comments on this very site where irrelevent is probably one of the most frequent word associated with Oscars) would be more significant, important than the cinephiles? ANd if I’m wrong and loads of millenials pay attention to very diverse movies, why on earth would a host matter?
        The smartest thing would be presenters, no host, and focus on the movies and winners (in EVERY category).

  21. Dr Mrs The Monarch says:

    I actually liked Hugh Jackman as host. He relied less on comedy and more on musical numbers. I love musicals so I felt he made it an entertaining show.

    The Oscars need to ditch the montages and endless self-love. Stop using presenters who can’t read the corny jokes off the teleprompter. Have two or three sharp, witty monologues by different flavour-of-day comedians. Mix in a few musical numbers. Try to find a way to make the technical awards more interesting and relevant (ie. feature the costumes that are nominated for best costume like Whoopi did!) And keep the show less than 2.5 hours.

    • Echo says:

      He’s similiar to Billy Crystal in that way, but they seem very old fashioned in a way. Anne H and Franco were horrible. I’d like to see Oscars go for self-deprecating humour with Ricky Gervais or someone similar. Oscars takes itself too seriously.

  22. TJ says:

    Give it to Billy Crystal. He is still funny AF.

  23. Lala11_7 says:

    The “Kids” ain’t watching the Oscars…so if that’s what they’re trying to do…which…it was/is…which is reflected in their choice of Kevin Hart…they’re in a HEAP of trouble…

    Pick someone solid and someone who is entertaining…make sure the live acts are off the chain with production and sound…and keep it moving….

  24. Spike says:

    My dream team would be Terry Crews & Leslie Jones. They would slay it.

    Chadwick Bosesman & Jason Momoa if the Academy is trying to capitalize on popular films. Chadwick was funny on Saturday Night Live.

    Next up – John Krasinski & Emily Blunt.

    Last thought – Ellen Degeneres. She’s already hosted the Academy Awards twice.

    • Original Jenns says:

      Terry Crews and Leslie Jones would have me watching the entire stupid show. If they think the older demographics are watching regardless, then who cares about politics or social commentary (it still burns me that #metoo is considered f-ing political). Get good hosts. Maybe Leslie and Terry could also win some hearts and change a few ignorant minds.

    • deezee says:

      Leslie Jones would be great! She is funny and always seems very enthusiastic!

  25. Jamie says:

    Why have a host at all? After the intro/welcome, they don’t do much of anything but tell a bad joke and introduce the award presenters.

    Eliminate the host, have some PA guy introduce the next presenters/song performers and save a bunch of time in that marathon broadcast.

  26. Bella Bella says:

    Chris Pine

    He showed he could sing and dance when he hosted SNL. And he’s easy on the eyes. I could see him aging into the job like Billy Crystal did.

  27. Hallie says:

    I know getting a good host is important to keep the viewers numbers up. But I think just the sheer anticipation/expectation of sitting down to watch a 3-hour plus (with all the commercials) show is also what’s driving away the viewers. No matter what, things will get boring. They have to make the show a lot shorter. Just my own opinion, but take out the presentation of best songs. I always switch channels when another musical performance comes on. I am watching the Oscars awards presentation, not the Grammys or a concert. Sorry. And really decrease the time of any video montages. Take out any special awards or honorary awards. These special awards always meant a long video montage of the honoree, a long intro by a presenter, a long standing ovation, and a very long acceptance speech. Also, maybe just show videos of the announcement of nominees and winners of the not-so-popular categories (ie best sound mixing, sound editing, etc). Maybe a short video snippet as the winners are receiving their Oscar trophies. No need to show their actual acceptance speeches on live tv. I am sorry, I know these guys are just as important– if not more so— to the film process as the actors, but the very casual tv viewers (which I believe are the majority, and are the ones the Oscars people are trying to entice to watch their awards show. After all, real film aficionados and true Oscars followers will watch the show no matter what.) don’t really want to sit through and watch them thank every one of their loved ones. Lessen the commercial breaks (not realistic, I know) or shorter commercials. Again, all these are just my personal opinion.

    • Hallie says:

      Sorry, but I would just like to add:After the host introduces the presenters, do away with that part where we have to patiently watch these presenters meet in the middle of the stage, then they sashay together as they go towards the microphone, then they stand there waiting until the applause dies down, then they make their little spiel or jokes, and finally they present the nominees. I know this is just a very short span of tv time, but multiply this with the number of categories and it just unnecessarily lengthens the show time. Just make the host do a very short intro, and then make the camera pan away to the presenters already standing by the microphone. Take away the joking/bantering. More often than not, it turns out to be so scripted/corny and awkward anway. Just read the nominees and announce the winner. Again, all this is just my personal opinion.😁

  28. Echo says:

    It’s been the #Metoo year so they’re busy getting police checks, reviewing social media accounts, and even doing one-on-one screening interviews with neighbours, high school classmates, and even pets to ensure prospective hosts don’t come with even a hint of scandal.

    I wish they’d get Ricky Gervais; his outrageous GG hosting was so funny. But guess the Oscars are much more serious.

  29. Joe says:

    The Kardashians. They’ll work for free, bring their own costumes, be tacky/glamorous as hell, and provide all their own non-political jokes by just being Hollywood trash. Win-Win.