The 91st Academy Awards Ceremony Remains Hostless

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Published February 6, 2019
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The Montclarion
2019 marks the 91st Annual Oscars. The awards show has not been held without a host since 1989. Photo courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Last month, it was announced this year’s Academy Awards ceremony would be conducted without a host. The Academy’s original choice, actor and comedian Kevin Hart, was met with controversy after the emergence of anti-gay jokes which the comic had made in the past.

While many expected Hart to be replaced, it was later announced the 91st annual Oscars ceremony would instead be conducted using a variety of different presenters. This marks the first Oscars ceremony without a dedicated host since the 61st award show in 1989.

The long list of presenters expected to appear at the award show include actors Brie Larson, Chris Evans, Tessa Thompson, Daniel Craig, Charlize Theron, Whoopi Goldberg, Awkwafina, Tina Fey, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg and Constance Wu.

Montclair State University students had a lot to say about this topic, as we approach the ceremony’s scheduled date of Feb. 24.

When asked about the lack of a singular host, freshman English major Sierra Schiff expressed how she felt about the topic.

“There should be a host, but I don’t blame them for not wanting to do it,” Schiff said. “It’s a lot of pressure, and they face the potential for a lot of public backlash.”

However, Schiff did go on to say she believes Hart would have been an ideal host, and that there was no need for a replacement.

“The fact that Kevin Hart, someone who is used to that sort of attention, backed out goes to show how much stress it can be,” Schiff said.

On the other end of the spectrum, some students felt that Hart was always a poor choice to host the show.

“It’ll probably be better off without Hart anyway,” said senior English major Wendy Faria. “He’s not funny. He just gets by from being offensive.”

Faria said there should be a singular host, and she suggested actor and musician Neil Patrick Harris as an ideal candidate.

“I think the Oscars should be taken seriously with a serious host,” Faria said.

Other students expressed skepticism toward the Academy Awards, which in recent years have lost much of their credibility.

“The Oscars are a big advertising campaign,” said freshman history major Matthew Baker. “If there’s no headline for the advertisement, the people who invest in these ads will feel like their money has been wasted.”

Baker raises the point that having a host isn’t just about preserving the Oscars’ traditions but also about drawing consumers to view the show using a well-known entertainment figure.

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Nominees for the 91st Oscars were celebrated at a luncheon held at the Beverly Hilton on Monday, Feb. 4. Photo courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

While the lack of a singular host is seen by many as an ill omen, others are optimistic to see how the new format plays out.

“I’m excited to see what they do without a host,” said senior English major MaryRose Spinella. “I haven’t enjoyed the Oscars in the past so this could be a good change.”

If there were to be a host this year, Spinella believes that actor and comedian James Corden would be a great choice due to his experience hosting the 2016 Tony Awards and the Grammy Awards in both 2017 and 2018.

Mariana Gomez, a senior music major, also expressed excitement about the change and how excited she is to see how it plays out.

The lack of a singular host will be detrimental to the show’s effectiveness. The host of the Oscars is typically used to unify the ceremony’s many different aspects, as they are responsible for introducing the awards, the presenters, the musical acts and often appears in promotions for the show itself.

This ceremony will lack the distinct tone and identity which previous hosts have contributed to their respective ceremony. This year’s Oscars may consequently feel a bit muddled.

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