UPDATE: The Oscars will reportedly happen without a host this year.
Kevin Hart reveals he definitely will not host the 2019 Oscars. Back in December, the Academy pegged the actor/comedian for the gig, which Hart considered to be the "opportunity of a lifetime." However, he didn't stay as Oscars host for long, as he quickly became embroiled in controversy after homophobic tweets and jokes of his resurfaced. Due to the backlash, Hart opted to step down as host, wishing to not be a distraction during the awards ceremony. Though that happened over a month ago, the Academy has still not found a replacement.
Just a week ago, it looked like there was a chance Hart would change his mind and come back. Following an extensive appearance on Ellen (where Ellen DeGeneres said she talked to the Academy and pushed for Hart to take the job), Hart implied he would reconsider his decision. But after additional thought on his part, the Oscars (for now) remain without a host.
While appearing on Good Morning America (via Variety) to promote his new movie The Upside, Hart definitively closed the door on the Oscar conversation, clearly removing himself from consideration:
"No. I'm not hosting the Oscars this year... I don't want anyone to think there's a thing between me and the Academy because there isn't. The Academy, they're amazing people. The offer was made, it was received, I was excited, things didn't work out they way that they should have. Right now from a time perspective, I don't have the time. You're talking about two weeks that I would really have to prepare. I start filming Jumanji in February. I would like to call myself a perfectionist; if I do something I want to be able to give it my all and make sure the production is a great representation of me and my talent. I can't do that right now."
There probably were people who would have liked to see what Hart could do as host, but this seems like the best for all involved. If the Academy welcomed Hart back with open arms, it would be an untenable situation - and more than a little curious considering Disney's (owner of ABC, which broadcasts the Oscars) swift firing of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn last summer. Hart's presence would have overshadowed the show, which wouldn't be fair to the nominees and winners being recognized on Oscar Sunday. With the focus supposed to be on honoring the best in film, having a controversy looming over the proceedings is unideal. Additionally, the telecast has seen its viewership ratings decrease in recent years, and it's unlikely Hart would have helped matters there.
With Hart no longer an option, the Academy needs to hire someone for the job - and soon. The Oscars will be held on February 24, and as Hart indicated in his comments, there's a fair amount of preparation time involved. This is Hollywood's biggest night, so it's not exactly something that can be thrown together at the last minute. Hopefully, the Academy has someone waiting in the wings to take over. If not, the possibility of having the show go on without an official host is an increasingly realistic possibility.
Source: GMA (via Variety)