Everybody knows that the Academy Awards are the most self-congratulatory; most self-indulgent, condescending hogwash television has to offer on an annual basis.
Filthy rich celebrities play dress up to give each other awards to play or make pretend while snootily stroking their own egos in the process.
But something happened this week in the Oscars world and it was really strange.
2014 – Host Ellen DeGeneres – 43.74 million
2015 – Host Neil Patrick Harris – 37.26 million
2016 – Chris Rock – 34.43 million
2017 – Jimmy Kimmel – 33 million
2018 – Jimmy Kimmel – 26.5 million
In five years, the biggest awards show on the planet lost half of its viewers. It is that people are either disinterested with celebrity, movies have continually gotten worse over the years or working class America is sick of the infusion of President Trump-hating vitriol into the show.
America is sick of the infusion of President Trump-hating vitriol into the show
But this week, an article by Stephen Galloway in the Hollywood Reporter went viral, which was entitled “Why Oscar Host Has Become the Least Wanted Job in Hollywood.”
The article began with maybe one of the most catastrophic moments in Academy Award history that we are still less than two years removed from when the wrong envelope was given for Best Picture – La La Land received it but Moonlight was the real winner.
When it happened, an awkward rosy-cheeked embarrassed Jimmy Kimmel spouted, “I don’t know what happened. I blame myself for this. … I knew I would screw this show up, I really did.”
It wasn’t Kimmel’s fault; it was the fault of the Price waterhouse Coopers accountant firm who controls the envelopes. Nevertheless, a mortified Kimmel took the blame and the pressure for it.
And that’s probably why only one of a million reasons why almost everybody refuses to host the Oscars.
The article makes a compelling argument that the Oscars used to be a must-see event with already built-in star power but now the host is maybe the biggest part why viewership is either up or down.
And the standards the producers have are a bit over-the-top.
Galloway writes, “must be funny (without being tawdry), topical (without being controversial), politically savvy (without being too partisan), young (but not so young as to scare the Academy’s governors) and satisfactory to a coalition of competing interests, including the Academy’s president, its sprawling board and ABC — not to mention Donna Gigliotti, who was named to produce in October and who’ll be joined by veteran director Glenn Weiss.”
Many who are no-brainer shoe-ins for the job all immediately turn it down like Justin Timberlake, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler,and the list goes on and on.
Here’s where the story gets a little bizarre.
Towards the end of the article, Galloway wrote, “So who’s right for the job? Kevin Hart is funny without being tasteless; Sarah Silverman is tasteless without always being funny. Tiffany Haddish? Academy toppers quivered with rage when she mispronounced names at last January’s nominees’ announcement. Samantha Bee, Bill Maher, John Oliver — each could be incendiary in an era when the tiniest ember can set off a fire, which petrifies the Academy leadership.”
Twitter exploded once this article went viral and one of the names that was frequently brought up was Patton Oswalt. Stephen King endorsed this idea.
Another popular choice was the duo behind Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Keegan- Michael Key,and Jordan Peele.
While everyone speculated and gave their “dream” host(s) choices, the Academy Awards announced that Kevin Hart would host the upcoming 2019 event.
The Academy Awards announced that Kevin Hart would host the upcoming 2019 event
Here’s that line again in the article; “So who’s right for the job? Kevin Hart is funny without being tasteless;”
It’s as if several possibilities could have happened here.
Either the producer, Gigliotti, read the article, contacted Kevin Hart’s representatives and he immediately jumped at the opportunity.
The Academy was desperate to save face in the wake of the negative article and offered the job to the only man who would take it.
Or, this is just a massive coincidence and the Academy had been in negotiations with Hart’s representatives the whole time.
Whatever the case may be, it’s hard to say that article didn’t influence their decision or force their hand.