It is official. The 91st Oscar ceremony will be minus an host for the first time in three decades. The decision was confirmed on Monday during the annual nominees luncheon thrown by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Originally, actor and comic Kevin Hart was lined up for the job. But he was called out for his past homophobic tweets and other comments. Although he initially stood his ground and even showed up on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show, where she suggested he should still host. But her efforts were for naught as the star of “The Upside” eventually stepped down soon after. In a tweet from December, he stated: “I’m sorry that I hurt people. I am evolving and want to continue 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.”
For now, the Academy has announced an impressive and diverse array of talent recruited to be presenters during the February 24 event that will air live on ABC: Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Brie Larson, Daniel Craig, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Evans, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Charlize Theron, Awkwafina, Amandla Stenberg, Tessa Thompson and Constance Wu.
One assumes that Rob Lowe and Snow White did not get a call. They were both on duty during the 1989 ceremony when they opened the show with a nearly 12-minute surreal production number while singing Oscar-fied lyrics to “Proud Mary.” Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
As for the luncheon, it was the usual Hollywood schmooze-fest with over 200 filmmakers and performers meeting and greeting each other. Apparently, first-timer Rami Malek, up for his role as singer Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian,” was besieged with well-wishers while “A Star Is Born’s” Bradley Cooper was seen chatting with Spike Lee, who has waited several decades to finally be recognized for his directing skills beyond an honorary trophy, thanks to his six-time nominee “BlacKkKlansman.” Perhaps first-time helmer Cooper, whose film earned eight nominations including Best Picture while voters decided overlook him in the directing category, commiserated with Lee.
The nominees in attendance got the usual lecture on keeping it short and sweet when delivering their thank-you speeches. But this year, they might want to tote some running shoes to Hollywood’s glitziest event of the year. The show’s producers, Glenn Weiss and Donna Gigliotti, have issued a new guideline. Instead of getting 45 seconds total for your thank-you’s, 90 seconds are allowed from the minute your name is called. “The faster you get to the stage, the more time you have to speak,” said Gigliotti. Now that really is an Oscar race.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on February 24.