And the award for be­hind-the-scenes drama goes to …

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To the United States, where the cri­sis in Os­cars host­ing con­tin­ues to rage, re­mind­ing us that one of the ma­jor ad­van­tages of late-stage cap­i­tal­ism is the sheer vol­ume of at­ten­tion it can af­ford to lav­ish on de­bates over who will or won’t be read­ing pre­pared joke-ef­fect lines come 24 Fe­bru­ary.

As is only right, the Academy Awards host is given sim­i­lar at­ten­tion to a supreme court pick, even though the Os­cars is es­sen­tially a cer­e­mony where an on-set ac­coun­tant can’t even hand the right best pic­ture win­ner en­ve­lope to War­ren Beatty. Os­cars or­gan­is­ers tra­di­tion­ally claim their tele­cast is watched by more than a bil­lion peo­ple – “They keep re­mind­ing you, like, ev­ery two sec­onds,” Cate Blanchett once re­vealed – though last year’s was in fact watched by 26.5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans. I guess the other 973,500,000 ratings are global view­ers com­ing home from a day down the Con­golese cop­per mine or in the Chi­nese battery fac­tory to de­bate whether you re­ally can sim­ply white­wash fired di­rec­tor Bryan Singer out of the Bo­hemian Rhap­sody story.

Any­how, as you may know, this year’s Os­cars had a host all lined up in the form of Kevin Hart, but he failed a se­ries of pub­lic hear­ings over past ho­mo­pho­bic tweets. Since Kevin’s de­ci­sion to be stepped down, the talk of who might re­place him has been fever­ish. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, if he had only apol­o­gised in a much­billed ap­pear­ance on The Ellen De­Generes Show last week, Kevin would have been right back in. But he seems to have been un­able to – in­deed, he has since cast the row as an op­por­tu­nity for growth for oth­ers. “You can’t change with­out a un­der­stand­ing of what GROWTH means,” he In­sta­grammed huffily. “Please grasp this and use it in 2019.” Clearly, the true growth in this sit­u­a­tion would be Kevin’s crit­ics grow­ing be­yond the need to re­quire growth from him.

The up­shot of all this is that the Os­cars are re­port­edly con­sid­er­ing hav­ing no host. Thank good­ness the Academy re­fuses to be put off tak­ing them­selves se­ri­ously, no mat­ter what. If lit­er­ally no one can do it, it’s clear this cul­tur­ally sa­cred role must be more im­por­tant than we even re­alised.

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