Producers of the Oscars are to forge ahead with this year’s show without a host for the first time in 30 years, despite pleas last week from Ellen DeGeneres that they should rehire Kevin Hart.
Hart pulled out of hosting duties barely 48 hours after being announced, after he was lambasted over homophobic comments he made in a 2010 comedy special, in which he joked about how he would prevent his son from being gay.
Then, in an interview with DeGeneres last week, the talk show host, who is among the most powerful gay celebrities in the world, appeared to ‘absolve’ Hart of any wrongdoing, seemingly in a bid get him back on the bill.
“I want everybody to know I’m done with it… I’m not addressing it anymore,” he told Good Morning America.
Now, according to a report in Variety, the awards ceremony will go ahead without a central host for only the second time ever in the show’s history. The last Oscars without a host took place in 1989, the year Rain Man took home Best Picture.
Instead, a host of A-list stars will be called upon to appear on stage.
“Producers will select a crop of A-listers to introduce various segments instead of relying on one marquee name to kick things off in a monologue filled with Trump zingers,” said the insiders.
“Barring an eleventh-hour pivot by the Academy — in the event that a superstar host materialises — the show producers are moving forward with a broadcast that will focus on starry skits and play up a high-profile year for music in film, thanks to likely nominees Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton, and Kendrick Lamar, one individual involved with the show said.”
The Oscars show has suffered dwindling ratings in recent years.
The 2018 show, which was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, saw the audience down by 19 percent from the previous year, to 26.5 million viewers, an all time low.
This year’s show happens on February 24 from Hollywood’s Dolby Theater.