In a year when awards shows are trying to adapt to the climate that pandemic living has imposed upon us all, the producers behind this year’s 93rd Academy Awards seem to be trying to maintain their usual routine. With attendees not being offered an option to Zoom into the show, or wear hoodies while attending, the Oscars ceremony is trying to keep the traditional glitz it's always possessed. And yet, the hosting plans for this year’s show have been announced, and I’m not here for the continued lack of them.
That’s right, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences are, yet again, going without a host. Deadline caught wind of these plans through sources close to the planning phases of this year’s Oscars telecast. Instead, offers have been put out to presenters that will introduce the various awards, special honors, and segments for the evening, just like they have for the past two years. Which is probably the biggest mistake this year’s show could make, as far as I’m concerned.
Yes, hosts can be awkward, especially when you’re holding an awards ceremony during the still raging pandemic that’s ever present. But in a year when Oscar producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh are urging attendees to “read the room” when on the stage at this year's ceremony, it’s kind of surprising that the first part of that big equation isn’t being heeded. If the Oscars are trying to play to a sense of normalcy and pageantry, it’s time to bring back the hosting gig.
With the right host, someone like say Tom Hanks, or Annie Mumalo and Kristen Wiig as Barb and Star, the 93rd Oscars could be something special. A steady hand guiding the room with warmth, humor, and wit would really make this in-person event worth showing up for. Which, in turn, would help the audience at home escape the realities of the moment and enjoy the show even more. As Hollywood has pretty much been accustomed to helping the world escape from the woes of the outside world since its very origins, it feels even more fitting for the Oscars to work some traditional magic at a time like this.
The problem with Oscar hosts has never been whether to have them present at the awards ceremony or not. The fault has lied in the fact that the hosts that have been picked in the recent past haven’t worked. Let’s not forget, we went two straight years with Jimmy Kimmel basically doing his late night show at the Oscars, and it didn’t exactly work as ABC would have liked. And it’s not like hostless Oscars are boosting the viewership either, as seen with last year’s dismal ratings performance.
The host-less experiment has officially failed, and now more than ever is the time to find a host, or pair of hosts, that know how to hold court for a show that needs to feel more exciting and distracting than ever. Otherwise, the Oscar telecast producers should do the kind thing and shift to a Zoom-centric ceremony. If this year’s attendees have to make a long, quarantine requiring trek to an awards show, it’s time to pull out all the stops once again. What better golden opportunity than on a night when that color particularly shines to put some much needed excitement in the air with a host that makes it all come to life.
As it stands, there will be no host at the 93rd Oscars, which will take place on Sunday, April 25th, airing on ABC.