I have a pretty good feeling about Kevin Hart getting hired as the 2019 Oscar host. Jimmy Kimmel is a fine fellow and knows how to pull off funny bits, but – as someone would say – he is a bit low energy. Yes, Matt Damon might not be invited to the party this year in the role of the arch-nemesis. But there is a chance Tiffany Haddish might make an appearance with her “Night School” co-star.
At 39, Hart will be one of the younger hosts of Hollywood’s biggest night this decade. Anne Hathaway was 28 when she paired with James Franco, then 32, as emcees for 2011’s live telecast. But age had nothing to do with the awkward way the duo performed their duties. Unlike Hart, who is known for his quick wit in his stand-up act, those actors are used to sticking to a script.
Given the popularity of his films among a broad range of demographics, Hart will draw more than a few teens and 20-somethings to watch a parade of over-dressed adults thank each other and keep the evening lively. He is also lucky that the Academy board is determined to keep the show no longer than three hours this year. Unlike Chris Rock, who hosted for the second time in 2016 after his 2005 stint, Hart will hopefully avoid being saddled with an agenda like the #OscarSoWhite controversy.
Rock, for one, gave his blessing on Instagram: “Damn, I’ve lost another Job to Kevin Hart. Congrats Can’t Wait. They got the best person for the job.”
Looking over the list of hosts over the years, there have been only five African-American celebs, including Rock, who have presided over the ceremony. The others are Whoopi Goldberg (four times in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2002), Richard Pryor (co-host twice in 1977 and 1983), Sammy Davis Jr. (co-host twice in 1972 and 1975) and Diana Ross (co-host in 1974). It’s more than about time to add another to that list.
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