About six weeks from now, the stars of Hollywood will once again gather as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reveal their choices as the best productions, producers, and stars of the movie industry from the past year in the Oscars. The 91st Academy Awards has had a long and arduous road towards the awarding ceremony next month, particularly in the choice of emcee. The Academy had chosen comedian Kevin Hart on December last year, only to let him go following the scandal of Hart’s past social media posts with anti-LGBT content. After failing to find a replacement, AMPAS has decided not to.
E! Online reports that for this year’s Oscar Awards, the Academy has decided to go on without a master of ceremonies as an overall host. Rather than have one “marquee” name that would start the awards night with perhaps an expected monologue filled with digs against President Donald Trump, AMPAS will now instead be looking for stars that would present at specific portions of the Oscars program, in addition to the existing presenters who would give out the specific awards. It is, interestingly, the first Academy Awards ceremony not to have a main host since the 61st Oscars in 1989, or three whole decades ago.
The trouble with Kevin Hart as host began when certain Twitter posts of his with slurs against the LGBT community from several years ago were brought up to public attention. This spurred AMPAS to give Hart the choice of publicly apologizing to retain his hosting gig, or they take back their hosting offer to him. The comedian instead backed out, his statement explaining that he did not want the controversy surrounding him to distract the Academy and their preparations. Not even the efforts of talk show host Ellen DeGeneres could salvage the situation in time.
Hosting problems were not the only stumbling blocks for the 91st Oscars. Last year the Academy proposed a new awards category: Best Popular Picture. No eligibility requirements and key details were ever given, though it seemed like a way to include pop genre films like superhero movies as Oscar nominees and still have Best Picture be reserved for productions that meet the AMPAS standards for that category. Reactions to the planned new category were negative, and the Academy shelved the plans while they seek additional input on experts regarding how best to implement film popularity.
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