The 91st annual Academy Awards will go ahead later this month without a show host, it has been confirmed.
“We can confirm that there will be no host,” a spokesperson from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences told AFP without elaborating. The move comes as the official Twitter account of the Oscars posted a series of names of well-known names who will likely share the duties of hosting.
“We have a very exciting opener planned,” ABC president Karey Burke said at the Television Critics Association, adding, “We are not going to go straight into people thanking their agents.”
When asked if the lack of host was a cause for concern, Burke added: “Ironically, I have found that the lack of clarity around the Oscars has kept them in the conversation,” before adding: “The mystery is really compelling. People really care.”
The controversy has rumbled on since comedian Kevin Hart was forced to walk away from hosting duties after a series of homophobic tweets and a string of anti-gay jokes made during his stand-up routines nearly 10 years ago emerged. Hart attempted to delete all the aforementioned tweets during the day and initially refused to step down from his position as MC, posting a video on Instagram, saying: “My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, everyone’s upset by tweets you did years ago,’” he said in that video.
Despite his defiance, hours later a tweet followed from Hart in which he has now decided to step down from the role: “I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars,” he wrote.
More confusion came in the weeks after Hart’s decision to walk away as a strong social media campaign from fellow comedian Ellen DeGeneres attempted to convince Hart to return.
The 2019 Oscars will mark the first time in 30 years that the awards ceremony will be without a host.