For the first time 30 years, the Oscars has no host.
So does the 91st annual Academy Awards feel totally weird and awkward and dull without a host at its center for the first time in modern memory?
According to the vast majority of reactions on social media: Nope, not one bit!
In fact, fans are finding the ceremony’s array of diverse presenters are more than making up for the lack of a traditional host, and that the show feels like it has a faster pace. Several media insiders are outright wondering if the positive reactions to the somewhat accidental host-less format might result in the Academy opting out of hiring hosts for future shows. Below is what viewers — including some famous names — are saying Sunday night (followed by an explanation as to why the Academy decided to not have a host this year):
That said there were a few tweets in support of the previous format:
The reason why there’s no host this year is a bit complicated. Comedian Kevin Hart was originally announced as hosting the show in December, then was hit with controversy over homophobic jokes he made years ago. Apparently pushed to apologize by the Academy, Hart instead he dropped out. “I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,” he wrote at the time.
The Academy reportedly approached several other talents to host the show instead but was turned down. It’s unclear why they were rejected, but hosting the Oscars is considered a rather tough and thankless job, plus its now combined with greater-than-ever public scrutiny and social media vetting.
Finally, the Academy decided to have the ceremony without a host for the first time since 1989.
The host controversy was followed by another when the Academy announced plans to award some categories (such as best cinematography and best editing) during the commercial breaks. Another backlash ensued and the Academy changed its mind.