It may not be as prominent and foremost as all the other media awarding ceremony events happening at this time of year, but the Academy Awards continue to soldier on, with less than a decade left before it turns a hundred years old. For its 92nd edition, to be held next month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is planning to implement a few changes to the program, from a slight change in traditional dates to the naming of a category or two. But they are keeping one new element from the previous Oscars ceremony: no host.
CNN tells us that the 92nd Academy Awards, honoring the best that cinema had to offer back in 2019, will once again make do without a host. This development was made known on Wednesday, January 8, at the TV Critics Association press tour by Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment. If so, this would actually be the third time in Oscar Awards history that the ceremony made do without a master of ceremonies. The 61nd edition back in March 1989 also went host-less, relying on presenters for each category. Burke remarked that ABC and AMPAS merely wanted to repeat “what worked for us last year.”
Other changes that will be implemented in this year’s Oscars include the alteration of the ceremony date. For over a decade before, the awards night would fall sometime in late February. This time the Oscars will come earlier in that month, on February 8. There is also the renaming, approved by the Academy in April 2019, of the “Best Foreign Language Film” into “Best International Feature Film.” This category will allow animated movies and even documentaries from other countries for nomination, with the requirement that the majority of dialogue be in any language but English.
Back in 2018, the decision was made to forego having a host in the 91st Oscars the following February when their selected emcee, comedian Kevin Hart, bowed out from the obligation. This came in light of publicized past jokes made online by Hart that was construed to have anti-gay language and slurs. The resurfacing of old offensive statements from the comedian was believed to have been perpetrated by parties hostile to the gradual politicization of the awarding ceremony by dialogue from past hosts and presenters.
Interestingly, while the first host-less Oscars (done as a deliberate choice) in 1989 was considered one of the worst-rated awards, the ceremony from last year (done due to the departure of the selected host) was a marked improvement in ratings compared to the 2018 edition. The latest Academy Awards will air on ABC February 9.
Image from New York Post