LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The Oscars will have a host for the first time since 2018, broadcaster ABC said on Tuesday (Jan 11), after television ratings for film’s biggest night have plummeted in recent years.
The 94th Academy Awards, scheduled for March 27, will see Tinseltown’s most important prize-giving event return to its traditional Dolby Theatre venue in Hollywood.
Last year’s unorthodox edition, held at a Los Angeles train station with no host, was watched by just over 10 million viewers – a 56 per cent decline from 2020, which was already a record low.
“You heard it here first, I can confirm that this year’s Oscars will have a host,” Craig Erwich, president of ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals, told a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Television Critics Association.
Erwich declined to give any further details, including whether Jimmy Kimmel – host of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the last two hosted Oscars in 2017 and 2018 – will return.
“It might be me,” he quipped.
In 2019, comedian Kevin Hart pulled out of hosting the Academy Awards after homophobic tweets he made several years earlier reemerged.
He was not replaced, and while that year’s hostless format drew praise and was even emulated by other awards shows such as the Emmys, subsequent Oscar ceremonies were criticised for lacking focus and humour.
Also on Tuesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that veteran Glenn Weiss will direct the Oscars for a seventh consecutive year.
Few details have been confirmed for the show, which will be produced by Will Packer and were postponed for a second consecutive year.
The delay, reportedly to avoid clashing with February’s Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl in Los Angeles, was announced months before the Omicron variant forced multiple Hollywood shows to scrap in-person events this winter.