A firestorm took only 24 hours to topple Kevin Hart (left) as host of the Academy Awards. A string of anti-gay tweets resurfaced, putting Hart in an untenable position. He steps down to take the spotlight away from his vintage remarks about the LGBTQ community.
So, what happens next?
It was already a rather late announcement for the February awards telecast. Now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has to go back to the drawing board.
Who should emcee the star-studded event in 2019? Well, looking at the Hart pick, does the Academy want the “hot community,” “funniest person in the world,” and/or someone of color?
If they want to maintain a black host, they could cross all the boxes and, someone in movies, with Tiffany Haddish. Having just done a movie with Hart, I’m sure she would have had a decent presence with him directing traffic at the Oscars.
How about Dave Chappelle (right)? He resurrected his career in a big way, even taking a small role in A Star is Born, and who could forget his killer set on Saturday Night Live, the weekend after Donald Trump was elected?
Some suggest it should be someone at ABC as self-promotion for the network running the broadcast. Yes, Jimmy Kimmel hosted the past two years, but it’s certainly not a prerequisite. There was a five-year stretch in the 1970s-80s where TV’s biggest star–Johnny Carson—was hired for the freelance gig, despite his deal with NBC.
Granted, there’s no Johnny sitting out there to make Oscar producers salivate. If they want to take a more political tack, Stephen Colbert could fit that role. He has plenty of hosting experience —Emmys and Kennedy Center Honors— but both at his home, CBS.
Perhaps, they want to bring a movie star to host. Steve Carell immediately comes to mind. But unlike Hart (aside from skin color) Carell can play funny, but isn’t a stand-up comic. That could be a harder gig to sustain for three hours.
I saw Oprah Winfrey‘s name bandied about. Obviously, she’s the O, can do whatever she wants and knows everyone in the room. But a performer would make the night more enjoyable for the viewing audience, as they try to figure out how to get a ratings uptick.
There’s always the tried and true. The Oscars might to give the ball once again to Billy Crystal, this era’s version of Bob Hope. Crystal, the popular emcee, held court nine times, but after an eight-year hiatus his 2012 version was off the mark. He took over the hosting duties after Eddie Murphy dropped in support, a day after producer Brett Ratner was forced to resign due to controversial homosexual comments. Familiar scenario?
Or maybe the simplest answer is Murphy.
Photos: @kevinhart and inverse.com