Kevin Hart will not host the Oscars this year—that’s the final answer according to a Saturday night Deadline report. Speculation swirled that Hart would reclaim the prestigious hosting gig following a surprise appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Friday.
Ellen DeGeneres revealed during the interview that she spoke to the Academy and that they would love for him to still host. It’s worth noting that the ceremony’s producers have yet to find a replacement emcee since Hart stepped down last month. The Jumanji star appeared to consider the possibility saying, “Let me assess—just to sit in the space and really think.”
It appears the thinking is over according to multiple sources at Deadline. Writer Mike Fleming Jr. acknowledges Hart could possibly change his mind, however it appears unlikely. According to the report, the stand-up mogul felt he would be a distraction from the celebratory affair and take the spotlight off of the nominees. He’s also concerned at how little time he would have to prepare a quality show.
Though Hart seemed sincere discussing his personal growth and maturity, the interview garnered mixed reviews. Since his appearance on Ellen, media outlets have been ripe with opinion pieces attacking DeGeneres, attacking Hart, praising her intervention, or claiming satisfaction with his change of heart. One of the most notable reactions came from CNN’s Don Lemon who made his opinion on allyship well known.
What’s notable about the Deadline report is their claim about the producers’ back-up plan. Apparently “the Academy has been quietly lining up stars to help out and will continue on that route.” The annual awards show has not been without a host since the 61st Academy Awards in 1989. A cluster of pseudo-hosts will surely have a different feel than the consistent vibe of one (or two) emcees. Whatever is to be done, the Oscars are on February 24. Whoever the host(s) may be, he or she needs to get the gig and get moving. And get some Kevin Hart jokes.