This year’s Oscars are officially going hostless.
New ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke confirmed Tuesday that the Academy Awards will be without a host for the first time in decades. She revealed the news during the executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour, saying that the decision was “wisely” made by Oscar producers to go without an emcee.
“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.”
“There wasn’t messiness beyond the Kevin Hart situation. After that, it was pretty clear that we were going to stay the course. There was an idea that they were going to have the presenters just host the Oscars,” she added. “We all got on board with that. 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. 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.”
While Burke was mum on details of the actual ceremony itself, she shared that she and producers will be meeting later this week to discuss the specifics of the telecast. However, she did tease that from what she was told, the opening number will be “exciting.”
Rumors that this year’s Oscars would go hostless started after comedian Kevin Hart stepped down as emcee back in December, just days after accepting the high-profile gig. Hart resigned after a number of offensive remarks he tweeted between 2009 and 2011 — many of which include anti-gay slurs and homophobic insults — began circulating online, and he initially refused to apologize. Hart explained that he had already addressed the situation in the past.
“So I just got a call from the Academy, and that call basically said, ‘Kevin, apologize for your tweets of old. Or we’re gonna have to move and find another host.’ Talking about the tweets from 2009, 2010,” Hart said in an Instagram video. “I chose to pass. I passed on the apology.”
“This is not the first time this has come up, I’ve addressed it, I’ve spoken on it,” he continued. “I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it. I’ve done it! I’m not gonna continue to go back and tap into the days of old, when I’ve moved on, and I’m in a completely different space in my life.”
However, 39-year-old Hart did end up apologizing to the LGBTQ community when he announced he was officially stepping down from hosting the 91st Academy Awards.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars,” Hart tweeted. “This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
“I’m sorry that I hurt people,” he continued in a following tweet. “I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
Hart later appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for his first televised interview following the controversy, where he opened up about his initial reaction to the resurfaced tweets.
“My first thought is, ‘I’m going to ignore it. I’m going to ignore it because it’s 10 years old.’ This is stuff I’ve addressed. I’ve talked about this. This isn’t new,” he explained. “I’m not going to pay it any mind because if you feed into that stuff, you only feed into the fire.”
He added that he doesn’t “have a homophobic bone in my body,” and noted that after the tweets, he’s taken the last 10 years to change who he is as a person.
“I’ve yet to go back to that version of the immature comedian that once was. I moved on. I’m a grown man, I’m cultured,” he said. “I understand what those words do and how they hurt. I understand why people would be upset, which is why I made the choice to not use them anymore. I don’t joke like that anymore, because that was wrong.”
For more on the controversy, watch the video below:
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