No host, no problem. One of the biggest questions surrounding the 2019 Oscars was how exactly the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science were going to open the awards ceremony without a host. Now we have our answer: Queen.
As first teased back at the start of February, iconic rock band Queen kicked off the show by singing “We Will Rock You” and “We are the Champions” with frontman Adam Lambert. The Queen and Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. A giant projection of Freddie Mercury appeared on the screen at the back of the stage as the medley came to its conclusion. After Queen took the stage, the Academy aired a supercut that brought together the year in film in 2018, from nominees to non-nominees.
The first group of presenters was Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph. “There is no host tonight. There won’t be a popular movie category, and Mexico is not paying for the wall,” Rudolph said. The trio kept stressing they are not this year’s hosts. Rudolph even started belting “Shallow,” while Fey joked everyone was getting the cheese sandwiches from the Fyre Festival.
The 91st Academy Awards are the first Oscars to be telecast without a host since the 1989 ceremony. The Academy infamously decided to open the show that year with a musical number featuring unknown actress Eileen Bowman as Snow White singing a rendition of “Proud Mary.” Hollywood icons such as actresses Alice Faye, Dorothy Lamour, and Cyd Charisse were brought out to perform. Rob Lowe also appeared to sing “Proud Mary” with Snow White. The opening was a notorious bomb for the Academy and continues to be ridiculed by Oscar lovers and movie goers.
The Academy’s host problem in 2019 stemmed from the controversy surrounding Kevin Hart. The popular comedian was announced as the host for the 2019 Oscars in December, but it didn’t take long for controversial jokes from Hart’s past to resurface on social media. In particular, Hart was accused of being homophobic after jokes containing anti-LGBTQ language and slurs went viral. Hart initially refused to apologize for the old jokes and was given an ultimatum by the Academy to either issue a public apology or step down from the position. Hart went with the latter and remained adamant he had already apologized for the jokes in the past.
Following Hart’s exit, many wondered if the Academy would find a replacement host. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was the first person the Academy asked to host the 2019 ceremony but he had to decline because of his busy production schedule. Once The Academy decided the show would go on without a host, it began hiring A-list presenters like Chris Evans, Jennifer Lopez, and Daniel Craig to ensure the ceremony would not lack star power.