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Here’s What the Host-Free Academy Awards Might Look Like
After Kevin Hart quit his Oscars hosting gig in the wake of scandal surrounding homophobic tweets and his inability to sincerely apologize for them, the Academy announced that it will soldier on with tonight’s Oscars ceremony host-free. While it’s been a generation since the Academy Awards abandoned its classic host format, the move isn’t entirely unprecedented—and here’s what we can expect.
Variety reported last month that the awards show has enlisted high-profile celebs to each play a small role in emceeing the show, and will augment the presenters’ monologues with skits and performances. Organizers later announced a starry array of A-list presenters. The list of notables doling out trophies includes Chadwick Boseman, Emilia Clarke, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Keaton, Brie Larson, Congressman John Lewis, Helen Mirren, Jason Momoa, Trevor Noah, Gary Oldman, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Barbara, Streisand, and Serena Williams, among many other famous types.
There have also been rumors that the Academy might mount an on-stage Avengers reunion, a stunt they initially pulled back in 2013.
We can also look to the last host-free Oscars to get a hint as to how the show might proceed without the help of an emcee. The 1989 outing was poorly received by audiences, and its truly painful opening number—which featured Rob Lowe singing a cinema-themed parody of “Proud Mary” in a duet with Snow White—went down in Academy Awards history for all the wrong reasons. Hopefully, the Academy’s learned from its mistakes, but without a host to provide an opening monologue, it’s fair to guess that the show might attempt another attention-getting opening this time around.
And expect music to fill some of the time that might otherwise go to a wise-cracking emcee. Almost all of the tunes nominated for Best Original Song will be performed, including Jennifer Hudson’s “I’ll Fight” from RBG, Bette Middler’s “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings’s “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and, of course, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow” from A Star is Born. Adam Lambert will also join the members of Queen to perform one of that band’s classics.