It’s been a tumultuous ride for the 91st annual Academy Awards. First, they had that whole “popular film” fiasco, where fans and industry insiders alike criticized the Academy for trying to sweep mega-hit Black Panther away from Best Picture gold. Next, their intended host, comedian Kevin Hart, stepped down from the gig after homophobic tweets of his resurfaced in December. And then reportedly, they couldn’t seem to find anyone to replace him.

Oscars 2019 News

But it seems like the Academy has given up the pursuit of a host. On Monday morning, ABC’s entertainment chief Karey Burke confirmed that the Oscars would go host-less. Instead, the biggest awards show of the year will feature a variety of individual presenters and performances, names of which the Academy has slowly been releasing to its Twitter page. Currently, it is known that stars like Chris Evans, Jennifer Lopez, Whoopi Goldberg and Amy Poehler are among the presenters, while Oscar-nominated songs will be performed by the likes of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

In her statement on Monday, Burke explained that the Academy hopes the choice will help shorten the show’s broadcast. “The main goal, which I was told, was the Academy promised ABC last year after a very lengthy telecast to keep the show to three hours,” she said (last year’s broadcast ran 3 hours and 53 minutes). “Producers wisely decided to not to have a host and to go back to having the presenters and movies be the stars, and that be the best way to keep the show at a brisk three hours.”


Although some fear that the lack of a host might hurt Oscar ratings, Burke and ABC are confident that people will tune in. “Ironically, the lack of clarity surrounding the Oscars has kept the Oscars really in the conversation and the mystery has been compelling. People really care,” Burke said. “It’s fascinating. We’re going to see a big turnout for this because these are big, popular movies who are being nominated. People really care to see who is going to win.” The 2018 broadcast had a record low viewership of 26.5 million, a 20 percent drop from 2017.

This will mark only the fourth time the Oscars has gone host-free since its inception in in 1928, with the last time being in 1988, when comedian Billy Crystal entertained the audience in an unofficial capacity. With comedian superstars like Goldberg and Poehler on board to present throughout the night, it’s likely that this year’s show will have a similar vibe.

Meanwhile, the Academy hosted its annual nominees luncheon on Tuesday, capturing the moment with the annual “class picture” of Academy Nominees 2019. The Academy Awards will air on Sunday, February 24, 8 p.m. EST on ABC. With the new format and an incredibly close race for Best Picture, it’s sure to be quite the show.

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