With Hart Out, Os­cars Plan to Go Host­less

With six weeks re­main­ing un­til the awards show, the Academy races to line up top talent to carry its sig­na­ture night

Variety - - Top Billing - Story by MATT DON­NELLY

the os­cars are poised to em­bark on one of the most rad­i­cal rein­ven­tions in the awards show’s long his­tory. For the first time in nearly three decades, the big­gest night in movies plans to go with­out a host, in­di­vid­u­als with knowl­edge of the plans told Va­ri­ety.

Pro­duc­ers will select a crop of A-lis­ters to in­tro­duce var­i­ous seg­ments in­stead of re­ly­ing on one mar­quee name to kick things off in a mono­logue filled with Trump zingers, said the in­sid­ers. The pro­duc­ers and the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences, the group be­hind the Os­cars, are scram­bling to line up top talent needed to carry the tele­cast, which is just six weeks from air­ing live — on Feb. 24 — from Hol­ly­wood’s Dolby The­atre. Hand-wring­ing at the Academy has been pal­pa­ble.

As it stands, no new of­fers are out, nor are any ex­pected to be made to a sin­gle po­ten­tial host to fill the void left by Kevin Hart, who dropped out within hours of be­ing se­lected when he re­fused to apol­o­gize for his past ho­mo­pho­bic re­marks that had resur­faced on Twit­ter.

Bar­ring an eleventh-hour pivot by the Academy — in the event that a su­per­star host ma­te­ri­al­izes — the show pro­duc­ers are mov­ing for­ward with a broad­cast that will fo­cus on starry skits and play up a high-pro­file year for mu­sic in film, thanks to likely nom­i­nees Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton, Ken­drick Lamar and Lin-manuel Mi­randa, one in­di­vid-

Un­re­pen­tantDur­ing Kevin Hart’s re­cent ap­pear­ance on “Ellen,” his por­trayal as a vic­tim in the con­tro­versy over his past ho­mo­pho­bic com­ments an­gered the LGBTQ com­mu­nity.

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