The Oscars in 2019 will officially be without a main host after Kevin Hart bowed out of the job amid a controversy over his past anti-gay tweets.
A spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that the Feb. 24 telecast will go on without a main host. (Fox earlier reported the news on Monday night.)
Instead, the Oscars will simply see a cavalcade of celebrities appear as presenters throughout the ceremony. The Academy announced on Monday that the first stars to appear on stage will be Awkwafina, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg, Charlize Theron, Tessa Thompson, and Constance Wu.
ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke acknowledged Tuesday the lack of certainty about a host since Hart stepped down had proved worrying.
"I have to be honest – it did [prove worrying]," she said, according to Variety. "It no longer does. I’ve ironically found that the lack of clarity around the Oscars has kept the Oscars really in the conversation and the mystery has been really compelling. People really care.”
The last time the Oscars did not have a main host was in 1989. The show infamously did not go over well. It started with a ill-advised musical number from Rob Lowe and Snow White and ended with 17 celebrities, including Julie Andrews and Paul Newman, signing an open letter to the producer of the show condemning the production.
This year, the Academy found itself in a predicament not long after Hart was announced as the host in early December. He stepped down from the role two days after receiving backlash for his past anti-gay tweets and his reluctance to apologize for them.
Hart has since spent the beginning of 2019 using his press tour for the film The Upside to continue apologizing for his actions. On his radio show this week, he said, referring to himself in the third person, "Once again, Kevin Hart apologizes for his remarks that hurt members of the LGBTQ community." But he ultimately decided he would not return to hosting this year's Oscars, despite pressure from Ellen DeGeneres to do so.
Then on Good Morning America last month, he had a defiant message for anyone still looking for a response after his past comments, saying: "I'm done with it. It gets no more energy from me."