Category Archives: Movies

Kevin Hart Out as Oscars Host; Who Should Get the Coveted Gig?

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.

Maybe she hasn’t paid her dues yet to reach the entertainment pinnacle— and that’s definitely a fair point.

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.

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Brand New Documentary Keys on Volatile 80s Talker, Morton Downey Jr.

evocateur-posterBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

For a brief moment in the late 1980s, 55-year-old Morton Downey Jr. found the stardom that eluded him for his entire career. But as quickly as he shot to fame, he burned out.

In a new documentary by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger, Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr Movie examines that dramatic rise and fall with the backdrop of trying to duplicate, or to outshine, his successful parents.

The film, being distributed by Magnolia Pictures, was released last Friday mostly to smaller art houses as part of a smaller theatrical presence. However Evocateur, screened at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, is also available now on TV via On Demand and for downloading through iTunes. He anticipates the film will reach Netflix customers in the short term, and ultimately could be shown on cable.

With a direct lineage to politics-themed Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and the trashy Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, Kramer tells Tuned In that the timing was right for Downey’s story to finally be told. He says the three filmmakers are “recovering Mort fans.”

In 1987, Bob Pittman, who founded MTV, approached Downey about coming to television. Downey had begun turning heads as a right-wing radio host, and over-the-top guest. This was the era of kinder, gentler fare, with Phil Donahue still ruling the roost.

“It was like if you gave someone psychotic their own talk show,” Kramer says. “He was the most brutal, abusive host in the history of television.”

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