After it was announced by the Motion Picture Academy that actor and comedian Kevin Hart was hosting the 91st Academy Awards, controversy broke online over tweets Hart posted several years ago. The tweets in question were deemed homophobic by many, who then criticized The Academy’s choice to make Hart their host. Hart, who starred in the comedy Night School earlier this year, deleted many of the tweets before sharing a video and lengthy caption to Instagram in which he said “If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m in love with the man that I am becoming.”
Late Thursday night, Hart took to social media again, this time to step down as the Oscars host. He posted a second video to his Instagram, explaining that The Academy called him telling him he needed to apologize or they would find a new host; he said he “passed on the apology.” He then followed up with a tweet explaining that the decision to step down was “because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.” He then apologized to the LGBTQ community for his “insensitive words from [his] past.”
Now that Kevin Hart is not hosting the 91st Academy Awards, here are some of the top predictions for his replacement:
1. Billy Eichner
Billy Eichner was active on Twitter following the spread of Hart’s old tweets, and especially critical of the absence of an outright apology from Hart. In one tweet, he wrote, “What bothers me about these is you can tell its not just a joke- there’s real truth, anger & fear behind these.” After Hart did apologize, Eichner tweeted “I’m no saint. We just wanted a little understanding, a little explanation. Apologies are tough – they leave you vulnerable. Toxic masculinity is real. I deal with it in my own way too. So on that note, I appreciate @KevinHart4real apologizing. And apology accepted. That’s all.”
Eichner, who will voice Timon in 2019’s remake of The Lion King, is an active part of the LGBTQ community but has not commented on potentially representing them as the replacement Oscars host. Instead, he joked in a tweet:
2. Tiffany Haddish
Tiffany Haddish starred alongside Hart in Night School, and earlier this year hosted the MTV Movie and TV Awards. She is a fan-favorite celebrity as of late because of her humor, candor, and wit. In addition to Night School, Haddish starred in Nobody’s Fool, The Oath, and Uncle Drew in 2018.
Haddish has not commented on the controversy surrounding her costar, but she did share a video featuring Kevin Hart on her Instagram page earlier this week.
3. Lin-Manuel Miranda
4. Chris Rock
Comedian Chris Rock actually predicted that Hart would host the Oscars, in a comment on Hart’s Instagram at the beginning of the year. Chris Rock responded to Hart’s Instagram post, which asked followers to “caption this” with the comment “Maybe next year I’ll host the Oscars.” When Hart was confirmed for the hosting gig for the 91st Academy Awards, Rock commented “Damn I’ve lost another job to Kevin Hart. Congrats Cant wait. They got the best person for the job.”
5. Ricky Gervais