The comedian has stepped down because of his homophobic comments. Here are some others we’d rather see take on the hosting gig.
For most of this past year, producers of the Oscars searched fruitlessly for someone to host the awards ceremony.
Nobody wanted the gig. Names like Oprah Winfrey, Justin Timberlake and Golden Globes’ super-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler all reportedly passed on the opportunity to host the Academy Awards. And can you blame them? In recent years, Oscars hosts have had to endure the indignity of mismatched choreography (Anne Hathaway and James Franco’s abysmal turn as Oscars hosts in 2011) or, even worse, managing mistakes made by presenters during the ceremony (Jimmy Kimmel, Warren Beatty, La La Land. Need we say more?)
It’s a poisoned chalice, but one that Kevin Hart seemed happy to drink out of. Earlier this week, the comedian was named the host of the 2019 Oscars, only to be unceremoniously booted from the gig today following the reveal of Hart’s use of homophobic material within his standup comedy sets.
In particular, LGBTQ commentators pointed to Hart’s repeated discussion of his “fear” that his young son would be gay. “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay,” Hart has said on a few occasions, but specifically in a stand up set from 2010. “That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don’t know if I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment, but when it happens, you’ve got to nip it in the bud!”
This isn’t Hart’s first experience of homophobic material. He also refused to star in Tropic Thunder because the character was gay, adding that he would never want to play a gay role in a movie.
Charming. Especially from the man chosen to host an awards ceremony whose main audience, as Fey and Poehler joked in their 2014 opening monologue for the Golden Globes, is comprised of “women and gay men watching at home.”
The Oscars asked Hart to publicly apologise for his comments and the comedian refused, choosing instead to step down from the hosting gig entirely.
“I passed on the apology,” Hart said. “The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times… I’ve said where the rights and wrongs were. I’ve said who I am now versus who I was then. I’ve done it.”
On Twitter, Hart added: “I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars. This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past… I’m sorry that I hurt people. I am evolving and want to continue to do so… Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again.”
Quite frankly, we hope not, Hart. By mishandling his apology, Hart has come across as a stubborn man-baby who is unwilling to admit when he is so clearly in the wrong. He also shows himself as about as far from an ally for one of the most important communities involved in the Oscars as he could possibly be. The Oscars shouldn’t want or need Hart as a host, if this is the way he is going to handle being called out over his past bad behaviour.
Yesterday, the Golden Globes announced Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh as their dual hosts, a choice that felt exciting in comparison to Hart. Now that Hart has exited the Oscars hosting gig, the Academy has the chance to reward someone else. And, if you ask us, that person should be a woman.
When the news that Hart had refused to apologise for his homophobic comments and would be stepping down from the Oscars gig, Philipps volunteered as tribute. “I AM AVAILABLE,” she tweeted, in all-caps.
Philipps would be a fantastic choice, on par with naming Oh the host of the Golden Globes. She’s hilarious, self-deprecating and willing to skewer all of her famous friends in the audience. She’s routinely been the most exciting person to turn to during Awards Ceremonies, where she is often seen on the arm of her best friend Michelle Williams. It’s Philipps who gave us the best tea after the Moonlight/La La Land debacle at the 2017 Oscars.
“I grabbed Ben Affleck’s arm, who I don’t know at all obviously, and was like, ‘I feel like you need to do something! You’re Ben Affleck! Do something!’” Philipps said at the time, a truly relatable reaction to have. When in doubt, grab Ben Affleck.
If Philipps is one of our favourite Oscars-adjacent figures, our second favourite is Chrissy Teigen. The model has become a pretty permanent fixture at awards ceremonies since her husband John Legend started picking up nominations (and awards) left, right and centre, and like Philipps, she’s perfectly placed to make fun of the whole enterprise.
Never forget how Teigen responded to that Moonlight/La La Land gaffe. ““It’s John Legend! He won an Oscar. Not this year though,” Teigen joked in a video with her husband the day after the awards ceremony aired. It’s that kind of playful ribbing that makes for an excellent awards ceremony host.
Teigen already has experienced with the whole hosting malarkey courtesy of her role on Lip Sync Battle. She’s hilarious, she’s winning and, to be honest, I’d be keen to hear her thoughts on this year’s crop of potential nominees.
What is Chrissy Teigen’s opinion about the butt song in A Star Is Born? Did Chrissy Teigen love the dog in Widows as much as we did? Does she adore The Favourite? Has she seen Mary Poppins Returns? These are the only questions I need answered right now.
Our first two suggestions have been public figures who happen to particularly funny. Now we’re going to switch gears and stand up for a bonafide, genuine comedian. Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon keeps going from strength to strength, and a turn as the host of the Oscars would only cement that.
She’s routinely the best thing about every movie she’s in, whether it’s Ghostbusters or The Spy Who Dumped Me, and she’s on every director’s dream cast list. Next year alone, along with being SNL’s MVP, you’ll see her in the Richard Curtis/Danny Boyle musical starring Lily James and Ed Sheeran, and in the much-anticipated Roger Aisles movie with Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Allison Janney. Phew.
The Oscars hosting gig would just be the latest feather in her cap.
Who saw Game Night? And who agrees that the funniest moments in that very funny movie all came from Rachel McAdams? The bullet removal moment was genius. The Pulp Fiction sequence was iconic.
But the most hilarious bit was when McAdams fought with an oversized, overblown baddie three times her size. When the goon pointed a gun in her direction, she pleaded with him not to shoot her because she had kids at home.
“Not with that ass you don’t,” he countered.
“Well, thank you,” McAdams smiled, before gravity dragged him backwards into a messy, bloody end courtesy of the engine of a jet. “Oh no,” McAdams gasped. “He died!”
This Oscars, all I’m asking for is McAdams to host, and for her to announce the nominees thusly: “Oh no. He lost!”
Hollywood producers, make it happen.