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Last year, the Academy Awards ceremony did something that hadn’t done for three decades: it was conducted without a host. This wasn’t the original plan, but evidently the decision worked out for ABC, as the network has announced that next month’s Academy Awards ceremony will be presented host-less as well.
This news comes straight from ABC’s presentation at the Television Critics Association event, with Kathy Burke, the network’s entertainment president, saying the following (via Deadline):
Together with the Academy, we have decided there will be no traditional host, repeating for us what worked last year. [It will have] huge entertainment values, big musical numbers, comedy and star power.
The 91st Academy Awards were a mixed bag, as even though it was still among the least-watched ceremonies in Oscars history, viewership nonetheless increased by 12% compared to the 90th Academy Awards, drawing in 29.6 million viewers. Last year’s Academy Awards also received a fair amount of positive reception, so ABC is willing to give this approach another shot to see if things can improve further at the start of this new decade.
When it came to last year’s Academy Awards, Kevin Hart was recruited to host on December 4, 2018. However, just two days later, Hart exited after past jokes he’d made which had been deemed homophobic resurfaced. Over a month after that, it was decided that the Oscars would move forward without a host, and instead a rotating lineup of celebrities would introduce the segments and awards. Before that, the last host-less Oscars was held in 1989, and that ceremony… did not go over well, to put it lightly.
Now, rather than being pushed into a corner again, ABC is willing to try the host-less experiment again and rely on various actors and talent to keep things flowing. It’s also possible that going without a host for the second time in a row will result in another streamlined broadcast, as last year’s Oscars ended up running 30 minute shorter than the broadcast from the year prior.
However, one shouldn’t take away that a host-less awards ceremony is a guaranteed recipe for success. The Emmys followed suit last year and was met with low ratings. Plus, who knows how memorable this year’s Oscars moments will be compared to something like Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s enticing performance of “Shallow” from A Star is Born.
In any case, while there was reportedly talk about bringing back a host for this year’s ceremony, it’s back to going without a host for 2020, so we’ll have to wait and see how that unfolds. As for what movies are up for the golden trophies this year, the Academy Awards nominations will be announced next Monday, January 13, though one just needs to look at the Golden Globe nominees and winners to get an idea of what’s among the best of the best from 2019.
The Academy Awards will be televised on Sunday, February 9 on ABC, several weeks earlier than usual. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more news concerning the awards contenders, and check out our 2020 release schedule to plan your trips to the theater this year accordingly.