With mere months to spare, the Academy finally found its Oscars host. After much speculation that Oscar producer Donna Gigliotti was having trouble landing a suitable host, former hosts Hugh Jackman, Ellen DeGeneres, and Whoopi Goldberg were among the possibles before Kevin Hart agreed to be the man in the spotlight at the top of the upcoming Oscar ceremony on February 24. Hart is the fifth African-American to host the Oscars, after Goldberg, Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Diana Ross.
Hart revealed in an Instagram post late Tuesday that he had accepted the role:
For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same…I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it would happen when it was supposed to. I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars. I am blown away simply because this has long been a goal on my list for a long time…To be able to join the legendary list of hosts that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now. I want to thank my family/friends/fans for supporting me & riding with me all this time…I will be sure to make this year’s Oscars a special one. I appreciate @TheAcademy for the opportunity…now it’s time to rise to the occasion. #Oscars
Movie comedian Hart moves up from hosting the MTV Movie Awards with his “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Central Intelligence” star Dwayne Johnson, who could be expected to join Hart on the live global broadcast. Jimmy Kimmel was no longer on the list of desirable Oscar hosts as the last two Oscar shows he hosted, produced by Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd, boasted plummeting ratings. A record-low 26.5 million viewers watched March’s telecast.
Clearly, the Academy paid attention to research showing that diversity can move the needle in a positive direction.
The Academy has promised a three-hour show with six to eight categories accepting their awards during the commercial break and edited into the show in shorter form.