Dwayne Johnson says he was 'first choice' to host the Oscars but 'couldn't make it work'
The Oscars almost got to smell what the Rock is cooking.
Dwayne Johnson tweeted Wednesday that he was the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “first choice” to host the Oscars this year but “couldn’t make it work” because he’s busy working on a sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Responding to a fan who threw out his name for the hosting job, Johnson wrote, “Ah mahalo dude, I was their first choice to host this year, and my goal was to make it the most fun and entertaining Oscars ever. We all tried hard, but couldn’t make it work since I’m shooting Jumanji. Academy and I were super bummed but maybe one day down the road.”
A rep for the Academy, which organizes the Oscars, did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
Kevin Hart, who costarred with Johnson in Welcome to the Jungle (itself a sequel to 1995’s Jumanji), was previously named as this year’s Oscar host but stepped down after homophobic tweets he had written in the past were resurfaced. Hart apologized for his previous comments in a tweet shortly after he dropped out, and again on his Sirius XM radio show, Straight from The Hart.
Instead of finding a replacement, the Oscars will instead be without a host this year. Kerry Burke, the new ABC Entertainment president, said Hart’s high-profile departure has actually been a boon to the Oscars because it has kept the show “in the conversation.”
“It’s really compelling. People really care,” she told reporters during the Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.
The 91st Annual Academy Awards will air live Feb. 24 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.