And Now The Oscars Might Have No Host At All…

So Sayeth Variety:

Another option being tossed around is not having any host at all, but rather “a bunch of huge celebs, something ‘SNL’ style, and buzzy people” to keep the show moving, the insiders said. A stunt like a group monologue was floated, one source added.

What’s interesting, aside from the nap I’m going to need because I’m so tired of being right all the time, is that they’re blaming Kevin Hart for not standing there like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at him:

One top talent rep wondered why the Academy didn’t more thoroughly vet the host, particularly given that Hart has been asked about some of these jokes in the past.

“My clients are bummed. They’re bummed Kevin didn’t stay the course and serve as an example. It dampens the experience, hopefully [the Academy] can pull it together so we can focus on the excitement,” said the rep.

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Why, that looks suspiciously like confirmation of the thing Kevin Hart said when he “passed on the apology”. You know, the fact that he’s been asked about this stuff before, has dealt with it, and doesn’t want to deal with it again. But… if they knew that, then why would they offer him the host job, with no seeming plan in place for dealing with the predictable outrage?

They weren’t planning on the outrage happening, now were they?

Was this the plan?

  1. Hire edgy (but non-threatening) comic to host.
  2. Wait for someone to notice past edginess, which does not jibe with present edginess requirements.
  3. Issue ultimatum that he apologize for past edginess.
  4. ???????
  5. Edgy (but chastened) comic hosts new Super-Rainbow-Friendly Oscars. PROFIT!

I think that was the plan. Then again, if they’re seriously considering turning the Oscar’s into a SNL-style group-hosting madness, they might not know what “plan” means. Then again, if they actually do that, I might actually watch the Oscars this year, just to taste the sheer horror of it.

Probably not, though.

Do the Oscars Really Need a Host?

So here’s how the Kevin Hart thing went down:

  1. The Academy (whoever they are) offers a comedian a job being meh funny for a few hours while pretty people in gowns walk across the stage to announce other pretty people in gowns and then give each other shiny statues.
  2. Activists on Twitter (whoever they are) digs back through his tweets and his standup routine from ten years ago and discovered stuff that was not all about the LGBT community.
  3. The Usual Call for Apology is issued.
  4. Comedian posts video stating that he’s Moved On from That Time, and everyone else should.
  5. This is Not Good Enough.
  6. Comedian posts another video declining to apologize on the grounds that he’s Addressed This Before.
  7. This is Super Not Good Enough.
  8. Comedian announces that he’s declined the gig, whereupon he apologizes.

Other than the apology coming after the point when it might have done any good (not really, though), this is obligatory. The only question is how soon we’ll get the Burned by Oscar Controversey, Comedian Mounts Comeback narrative. My guess is next year, depending on whether his next flick with The Rock performs above or below box office expectations.

The obvious question now is, who hosts now? The more interesting question is, why anyone? I’m completely serious. The perennial complaint of the Oscars is they go on too long. What better way to slice the Gordian knot of technical awards and laundry lists of people to thank than removing the superfluous element of what’s ostensibly an award show?

All the introductory elements of the show can be handled by one of those navel-gazing retrospectives. All the introducing can be done by some red-carpet casualty who’s not up for any awards (that’s 90% of what happens now anyway).

All hosting the Oscars gets for you is the harrumphing consensus that you should never do it again, partly because one of your weak one-liners Offended someone, and partly because you’re Not Billy Chrystal, who remains the only acceptable Oscar host (along with Zombie Jonnie Carson) in the eyes of people who care about such things. And there’s a low six-figure paycheck, which sounds nice from where I sit, but I don’t have to pay for Southern California real estate or Hollywood divorce lawyers.

Skip it, give the people their statues, and let’s get on with the mindless speculation about what’s gonna go up next year.