Just let Kevin Hart host the Oscars and let’s be done pretending the award show represents progressive ideas or a moral authority. The handful of films nominated every year consistently fail to reflect the diversity of American filmmaking, the list of winners is rife with alleged predators, and it’s not like past hosts have been consistently enlightened. For every Chris Rock making legitimately great jokes there’s also a Seth McFarlane singing a juvenile song about seeing actress’ boobs.
According to Variety, “Leadership at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC, the network that broadcasts the telecast, are open to Hart resuming his role as emcee if he signals that he wants the job.” You may remember that Hart previously had “the job” for three whole days before stepping down after facing backlash for his older material and tweets, much of which were homophobic. Instead of apologizing, he said he had already apologized (quasi-true), then quit the gig, then went on Ellen to make nice but, again, not exactly fess up.
With former host and LGBT icon Ellen DeGeneres on his side, and with no one else particularly interested in the job, it looks like the Academy has decided that a controversial host is better than no host at all. Maybe they’re hoping that the drama will boost ratings, which have been declining for the broadcast in recent years. Maybe they’re hoping he says something incorrect on-air and we get another viral moment a la La La Land/Moonlight. Maybe they’re in a forgiving mood. Or maybe they just don’t care.
After every scandal (Weinstein, #OscarsSoWhite, the dearth of female nominees, etc), it seems that the Academy changes a little, and for the better, but can never quite get ahead of its own deeply-rooted prejudices. Just like Hart. And while we’re drawing parallels, both his specials and the Oscars broadcast are kinda boring and way too long.