Kevin Hart’s Out At The Oscars – But Does Anyone Else Want The Job?

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The “most thankless job in town” just got even more difficult.

The Oscars have a longstanding host problem, but Kevin Hart’s swift downfall over old anti-gay tweets has led to bigger questions about the gig and the liability of social media histories.

It’s just the latest controversy for the organization that puts on the Academy Awards, which is trying to combat declining ratings for its marquee event while weathering the pressure of being a focal point for the shortcomings of the entertainment industry as a whole.

“I think it’s embarrassing,” Matthew Belloni, the editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, said about the academy’s decision to pick Hart. “It shows that they either didn’t vet this host properly, or they did vet him and didn’t think this would be an issue. And both are a little troubling.”

Hart seemed to fit the bill for what the academy was looking for.

“He checks all the boxes for a show like the Oscars,” Belloni said. “He’s a legitimate movie star. He’s a funny guy and can handle the stand-up element of the show. And he has a gigantic social following. And to the academy, that’s important. They want someone who can bring a new audience to the show.”

But Oscars hosts have always been subjected to a lot of scrutiny.

Poor or even mediocre performances can haunt people for years (Anne Hathaway and James Franco). Off-color jokes have a way of festering in the cultural consciousness (think of Seth MacFarlane’s “we saw your boobs” song, or Chris Rock’s Asian jokes). And even when things go decently enough, everyone is handed the right envelope and nobody walks away offended, the hosts can still be blamed for poor ratings.

“Oscars host has become a not very desirable job in Hollywood. Very few people see an upside,” Belloni said. “You put a huge target on your back.”

People have stepped down from being the public face of the event amid controversy, as producer Brett Ratner did in 2011 for anti-gay slurs. But Hart’s case is a little different. Ratner’s offensive remarks came after he had secured the gig. Hart’s tweets were from almost a decade ago and were well-known.

But in 2018, an unsavory social media past can cost someone their job. Just this past summer, the Walt Disney Co. fired director James Gunn from the third “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie for old tweets in which he joked about subjects including rape and pedophilia. As with Hart, the problematic tweets were amplified by social media outrage.

Immediately after Hart was confirmed as host on Tuesday night, some journalists began tweeting reminders of Hart’s past comments. By Thursday morning, a few publications had written articles about them. The outrage escalated, Hart commented but did not apologize, stoking even more outrage, which culminated with Hart’s announcement on Thursday night that he was stepping down as host of the 91st Academy Awards.

As the dust settles, the situation has proved vexing for some in the entertainment business. Actor D.L. Hughley commended Hart for his decision.

“A Comedian says something that offends people and refuses to apologize?” Hughley tweeted. “(Expletive) ’em if they can’t take a joke! Well done #KevinHart.” Snoop Dogg posted an even more colorful Instagram video in support of Hart.

The advocacy organization GLAAD wishes Hart hadn’t stepped down, however.

“Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

The film academy has yet to address Hart’s departure. Hart said the film academy told him he had to apologize or he’d lose the gig. He bowed out on his own, and with an apology.

Now everyone has an opinion about who should be named host. A woman? A comedian? Not a comedian? Someone in the LGBTQ community? All of the above?

Many keep coming back to Whoopi Goldberg, who has hosted the awards four times. Some have said Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted one of the Oscars’ highest-rated shows, or Tom Hanks, who has a longstanding academy relationship.

Others have said Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele, Will Smith or Lin-Manuel Miranda. Busy Phillips threw her own name out there (“I AM AVAILABLE,” she tweeted). Philips also proposed Issa Rae, Sarah Silverman, Ali Wong, Samantha Bee, Robin Thede and Aisha Tyler, or “any other woman working in Hollywood right now who wants to.” Stephen King suggested Patton Oswalt (He’s “funny, sharp-tongued, and he knows film,” King tweeted.) Some have even proposed Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty. Or no host at all, which has been done several times before, and as recently as 1989.

But the film academy will need to move quickly. The 91st Oscars are less than three months out.


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Kevin Hart Pulls Out As Host Of Next Oscars

Kevin Hart, who was selected to host the next Academy Awards ceremony, has relieved himself from the role following a controversy over some homophobic tweets he made years ago.

The American comedian, actor and producer made the announcement Friday after arriving in the Australian city of Sydney for a comedy show as part of his massively hysterical “The Kevin Hart Irresponsible Tour.”

“I have mad
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Kevin Hart steps down from hosting Oscars

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Should the Oscars Fire Host Kevin Hart Over His Homophobic Jokes?

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Hosting the Academy Awards is an infamously thankless gig, exposing the emcee to intense scrutiny from the culturati and critics, typically with little to gain professionally in exchange. It’s gotten so bad that earlier this week, in response to the fact that dozens of celebrities had turned down the Academy’s requests to preside over this year’s ceremony, The Hollywood Reporter proclaimed hosting the Oscars “the least wanted job in Hollywood.”

That was, of course, mere hours before the Academy announced that comedian Kevin Hart had taken the job.

Hart actually wanted the job very much, and has been on record saying as much over the years. He announced that he was “blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time” when he shared the news on Instagram. And now that he’s gotten it, he’s already witnessing part of the aforementioned reality of the gig: the scrutiny.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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American comedian, actor and producer Kevin Hart will host the next Academy Awards ceremony. Hart broke the news on Instagram Tuesday, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) confirmed it. “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 will
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Oscar-winning producer Donna Gigliotti will produce the 91st Oscars, and Emmy-winning director Glenn Weiss will co-produce and direct the high-profile show, to be held next year.

Announcing the names, Academy President John Bailey said, “Donna and Glenn will infuse new energy and vision into this 91st awards presentation, and we are excited about a broad-based creative relationship with these two
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