The 2019 Oscars are attempting to side-step some drama by going forward without a host.
The Academy Awards have been fraught with controversy this year, ever since prospective host Kevin Hart was condemned for homophobic tweets in the past. Many stars have been floated as possibilities, with some even lobbying for the job. On Wednesday, however, sources close to the show told Variety that there will be no host this year.
Producers of the award show reportedly intend to pick a whole cast of A-list stars to introduce and preside over different parts of the ceremony, with none specifically serving as host. This would be a break from more than three decades of tradition for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The organization has been having a hard time finding a controversy-proof candidate who could still draw a crowd and entertain the country in the telecast.
According to the sources, there will still be one major name attached to the show. The main performer will be expected to kick the night off with a typical monologue, presumably full of jokes about President Donald Trump.
The show had only six more weeks to work the kinks out. The Oscars are scheduled for Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.
Now, sources speculate that there will be an emphasis on short skits and musical performances — likely involving some selections from this year's hit film A Star Is Born. Sources believe that Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton and Kendrick Lamar will be among those asked to perform.
As for Hart, any hope that he would return to the show is gone now. The actor has done a tour of talk shows discussing his transgressions against the LGBTQ community, with Ellen DeGeneres even calling for him to be re-instated. However, on Wednesday, he appeared on Good Morning America where he declared that he is no longer interested.
"I'm not hosting the Oscars this year," he said. "It's hard to predict what can happen."
The sources still left the slim possibility that a high-profile host would emerge for the show, though it seemed doubtful. A report by The Hollywood Reporter in December explained why many celebrities are less and less interested in the show for both financial and creative reasons.
One of the few celebrity teams campaigning for the job were comedians John Mulaney and Nick Kroll. They wanted to host the show in character as Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, their personas from their Netflix special The Oh, Hello Show. They got little notice, however, and it looks like the Oscars would rather go without a host.
The 91st Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24.