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Oscar statues in rows

The Oscars Will Forego Having A Host Once Again

Gettyimages | Ozgur Donmaz
By Carolyn B.

The times they are a-changing. For decades, the Oscar Awards were a major TV event with viewers tuning in in droves to see which of their fave stars would win big. After years of slumps, disinterest from the general public, and experimentation, the Academy Awards have hit on a trend: going hostless.

The glitzy, glamorous Hollywood celebration of talent broke new ground last year when the even was presented without a traditional host. As it turns out, the powers that be in Tinsel Town have decided to give this new strategy a second go.

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A Once Coveted Gig

Billy Crystal
Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Billy_Crystal_VF_2012_Shankbone_(cropped).JPG

Hosting the Academy Awards was once a really big deal. Stars, and especially comedians, vied to show off their chops, honing their razor-sharp wit and politically inoffensive jabs.

Some favorites were awarded the job on multiple occasions. Billy Crystal may be the best-known recurring host, having served a respectable nine times. Whoopie Goldberg received compliments for her handling of the ceremony the four times she acted as emcee. However, it was Bob Hope who acted as the face of the Oscars the most, hosting the even a whopping 19 times.

The MeToo Movement Shakes Things Up

A woman holds a placard reading me too
Unsplash | Mihai Surdu

Following the bombshell coverage of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and as a response to the growing MeToo movement, the Academy Awards were careful to shine a spotlight on the mistreatment of women in the industry during the 2018 ceremonies. A video was shown highlighting women's struggle and bravery in telling their stories and several presenters were key witnesses and activists in the movement.

Social justice efforts have become a frequent issue at these events in recent years, with speeches focusing on representation, human rights, and upending an oppressive and discriminatory industry.

Controversy Strikes

Kevin Hart
Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kevin_Hart_2014_(cropped).jpg

The same year, actor and comedian Kevin Hart was tapped to make his debut as host of the 91st Academy Awards in 2019. Hart agreed to take the gig, stating in an Instagram post that he had been asked for years to take up the mantle and has simply been waiting for the right time.

However, detractors uncovered homophobic tweets posted by the comedian years before, leading to backlash and cries for Hart to step down. After three days, Hart decided to give up his position as Oscars host.

Going Hostless

Academy Award statue
Gettyimages | ROBYN BECK

After what seemed like a lot of confusion and difficulty finding a replacement for Hart, the Academy finally announced that they would try something quite experimental for the nearly century-old program and would be airing without a host entirely. This was only the second time the event had ever gone without a host, the first happening 30 years before.

Without the customary speeches, jokes, and comedy bits usually performed by the traditional Oscars host, the 91st Academy Awards chose to instead focus on musical performances in film and other skits.

A Stark Contrast

Ricky Gervais
Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GervaisBlooms021218-10_(44341159970).jpg

The decision to go hostless for the second year in a row is a drastic difference compared to the recent Golden Globes, hosted by divisive comedian Ricky Gervais for the fifth time.

Gervais had previously been considered an entertaining and shocking option due to his scathing critiques of the posh Hollywood lifestyle. But recent tweets and comments criticizing the transgender community have caused many previous supporters to disavow the comedian. Gervais' recent hosting gig incited more controversy with viewers taking to the internet to debate his statements claiming celebrities should stay out of politics.

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