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Oscars 2019: Who Will Host Now? The 10 Most Likely Candidates — Including No Host At All

Now that Kevin Hart has withdrawn as Oscars 2019 host, the Academy will need to find a replacement quickly. We've got some ideas.

AwkwafinaShopbop Let's Play Holiday!, New York, USA - 06 Dec 2018

Awkwafina

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5. No Host at All

If ABC is truly serious about keeping the Oscars telecast to a hard three hours, one way to tighten up the show is to get rid of the kind of time-sucking comedic bits and sketches that usually revolve around the host. The Grammys and Tonys have often gone without hosts and no viewers have ever really seemed to mind, while there’s some precedent on the film awards circuit now as well: Last month’s Gotham Awards went without a host, though admittedly that was not a televised event. It’s also possible that with high-profile films like “A Star Is Born” and “Black Panther” leading this year’s Best Picture race that people will tune in because of those films and not really because of any host the Academy might select. —CB

4. Tom Hanks

Few choices make more sense than America’s Uncle, a pick that would satisfy the Academy’s twin desires to find someone who’s both fun and safe. The upcoming release of “Toy Story 4” makes it a logical marketing move from the Disney synergy perspective (and it makes for an easy “we’re not so different after all” segment with co-star Tim Allen, who can drop in one or two self-deprecating jokes about “guesting on the Oscars to own the libs”). And if he came out in full Mr. Rogers garb to introduce the Best Documentary presenters, the country’s soul might explode. It’s just a shame he already used up his “career in six minutes” bit on Corden’s show. —SG

3. Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda Vanity Fair Oscar Party, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 04 Mar 2018

Even in a year not already marred by controversy, there are many factors at play when choosing a host: someone appealing, someone fun, someone skilled at hosting, someone with some name recognition, someone who can give host company ABC some sort of boost, the list goes on. Now, with the added tension of the Kevin Hart jettisoning, the question of general appeal and a lack of a potentially messy background are going to be of greater importance than ever. Fortunately for fans of Lin-Manuel Miranda — “Hamilton” creator, EGOT competitor (he just needs one more!), actual genius, and national treasure — the “Mary Poppins Returns” star would be a good bet no matter the year (or the cultural climate). He’s perhaps the most obvious pick of all, an actual showman with an appealing spirit and quick wit, and the star of a splashy film with ABC ties (the network is part of the Disney conglomerate). Hosting the Oscars can be a thankless, time-consuming gig, but Miranda is the kind of multi-tasker who would likely take to it well, and not get too bogged down in concerns over how it might impact his continually blossoming career. And he’s also a solid collaborator: no Oscar hosts emerges on stage on awards night fully formed, it takes weeks of preparation with writers and producers to craft every line, every joke, every sly smile. Miranda is perhaps more at ease with that style of working than other actors, because it’s the same kind of process that helps fuel a Broadway hit. More than anything, here’s a guy with appeal, with smarts, and with the kind of soothing spirit that could help everyone have a good time (and forget about all that weird stuff that happened earlier this week). —KE

2. Awkwafina

Awkwafina Shopbop Let's Play Holiday!, New York, USA - 06 Dec 2018

Arguably 2018’s biggest breakout star — thanks to show-stealing turns in hits like “Ocean’s 8” and “Crazy Rich Asians” — the sardonic rapper, comedian, and actress has enough energy and humor to dominate even the most staid of situations, a skill that can’t be overlooked when it comes to something as daunting as hosting the Oscars. But she’s also got something that most other buzzy names of her generation don’t: legitimate hosting experience. Years before she caught Hollywood’s eye, the Queens native was hosting her own short-form chat show, “Tawk,” which earned her nods from both the Webby and Streamy Awards. Earlier this year, she landed another one of live TV’s most coveted gigs, hosting “Saturday Night Live” in early October, the kind of job that required her to be quick, authentic, and willing to roll with whatever the hell might happen without the safety net of a tape delay. With a background in both acting and music, she could even help play up the variety show aspect of the Academy Awards with legitimate skill — after all, who wouldn’t want to see a game host with actual musical shops rapping about the year’s biggest movies? —KE

1. Tiffany Haddish

For anybody who was at last year’s New York Film Critics Awards, Tiffany Haddish as Oscar host is a no-brainer. That evening Haddish, in accepting her Best Supporting Actress prize, held court for over 15 minutes, improving what had to be the single greatest acceptance speech of all-time. Haddish also has said, in passing, she would like the hosting job, which right away puts her on a short list for what has become the most thankless gig in Hollywood. With her enthusiasm and fresh comedic voice, Haddish would be a breath of fresh air, while her ability to work in tandem, like her classic presentation with Maya Rudolph during last year’s broadcast, opens up the comedic possibilities beyond the host delivering snarky one-liners after the opening monologue is done. But most of all, no matter how big of a star Haddish becomes, she remains incredibly relatable – the regular woman who still gets a kick out of being in the room with icons – which is possibly what the evening of oversized egos and pomp needs more than anything. Haddish is the person most Americans would most like on their couch as a guest at their Oscar parties. —CO

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