Heads up, movie buffs! The Oscars—aka our version of the Super Bowl—is on tonight! The 91st Academy Awards kicks off tonight starting with the red carpet rundown at 6:30 p.m. ET live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The ceremony will follow shortly after at 8 sharp. Who’s hosting, you ask? It’s complicated.
In sum, the answer is no one. Here’s what happened and who is rumored to be a possible secret host.
Kevin Hart Was Set to Host, but Backed Out After A Social Media Scandal Hit
In early December, comedian Kevin Hart announced his plans to host the ceremony with a sentimental Instagram post telling fans he was “blown away” by the honor of being chosen to head up the night. The Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Ride Along star wrote, “For years I have been asked if I would ever host the Oscars and my answer was always the same. I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s supposed to. I am so happy to say that day has finally come for me to host the Oscars.
“To be able to join the legendary list of host who have graced that stage is unbelievable,” Hart continued. “I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now.”
The happy feelings unfortunately didn’t last. Just a day later, Hart was forced to step down after his homophobic tweets from 2010 and 2011 surfaced. Although many of his old tweets have since been deleted, one called another actor “a gay billboard for AIDS,” while another said that if Hart saw his son playing with a dollhouse, he’d tell him, “stop, that’s gay.”
The comedian initially declined to apologize. In an Instagram video, he said that he had grown as a person since then and didn’t want to “tap into the days of old.” He also said people need to “stop looking for reasons to be negative,” again declining an apology.
Facing mounting backlash from not only the tweets but also his response to their unearthing, Hart announced that he “made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars.” He claimed that he didn’t want to be “a distraction” from the evening and apologized for his old tweets. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” he tweeted.
No One is Scheduled to Host the Ceremony Marking Only the Second Time the Oscars Have Gone Host-less
So where does this leave tonight’s Academy Awards ceremony? For the first time since 1989, no one will be hosting the event. According to sources like Vox and former hosts like Seth MacFarlane, nobody in Hollywood wants to touch the gig following this latest snafu with Hart.
“The thing about award shows in general is, it’s kind of a dusty format. It’s a format that’s about as current as the 1950s variety show format,” MacFarlane told EW. “There’s always an effort to make it interesting and exciting to viewers who are used to a very different entertainment landscape in the modern era, and it’s often times fitting a square peg in a round hole. So it’s not an easy job, and I’m not surprised that they have a tough time finding takers.”
This year’s ceremony will be only the second time the Oscars will have no host, though it didn’t go so well last time. Some even called the 1989 ceremony a “disaster“—let’s just hope that Snow White stays home this time around.
The Rob Lowe/Snow White song and dance above was so awkward that Lily Tomlin came on stage after and joked that “more than a billion and a half people just watched that, and at this very moment they’re trying to make sense of it.” (Bless her heart.)
Whoopi Goldberg Hosting Rumors
Though Whoopi Goldberg isn’t confirmed to be hosting, the internet is doing what it does best and spreading the rumor like wildfire. Goldberg has been conveniently missing from her post on The View lately. Despite her absence, co-star Joy Behar has been denying the rumor that Goldberg has been tapped to host the Academy Awards, but…that’s what she has to say, right?
“Whoopi’s still out. She’s not feeling well. And there are all these conspiracy theories that she’s not really sick. She’s secretly preparing to host the Oscars,” said Behar on a recent episode. “But she’s actually recovering from pneumonia. That’s what she had, it’s a serious thing. So I don’t think she’s going to be able to host the Oscars and I’m sure she’s very disappointed.”
Behar’s comments were in direct response to, well, the internet:
Regardless, Goldberg is expected to present at the very least. Other presenters include Crazy Rich Asians stars Awkwafina and Constance Wu, former Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, best actress winners Brie Larson and Charlize Theron, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jennifer Lopez, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg, and Tessa Thompson.