The confirmation comes nearly two months after Kevin Hart accepted, and then stepped down, as host of the Oscars after years-old homophobic tweets of his resurfaced online. Hart subsequently apologized to the LGBTQ community, but insisted he had no plans to re-accept the gig, even after previous host Ellen DeGeneres urged the Academy to re-hire him.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke offered some details about what the host-less Oscars would look like. “We have a very exciting opener planned,” she said. “We are not going to go straight into people thanking their agents.”
Burke added that the producers of the Academy Awards decided that not having a host would also help them keep the show’s runtime at about three hours (last year’s ceremony clocked in at three hours and 53 minutes). Without a host, Burke said, “the presenters and the movies [will] be the stars. That’s the best way to keep the show to a brisk three hours.”
The last time the Oscars went without a host was 30 years ago at the 61st Annual Academy Awards in 1989. The decision was made by producer Allan Carr, who instead leaned on a variety of presenters to move the show along. However, that year’s show is perhaps best remembered for the notorious opening number Carr staged. In it, Rob Lowe performed a song-and-dance routine with Snow White, centered around a reworked version of “Proud Mary” that included the cringe-worthy refrain, “Rolling, rolling, keep the cameras rolling.”
The 2019 Academy Awards will air live February 24th at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.