- The 2019 Academy Awards will mark the first time the show hasn’t had a host in 30 years.
- But that isn’t a bad thing.
- Business Insider talked to past producers of the show and the consensus was that having no host is the best thing to happen to the Oscars in years.
For decades, the Academy Awards tried to attract viewers by having a big-name celebrity like Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, or Billy Crystal host the show. The hope was that even if you didn’t care about the movies that were nominated, the celeb emceeing would make you want to watch.
But times have changed – especially when it comes to the Oscars.
Though it’s still the most watched of any of the award shows, Hollywood’s biggest night is going through changes in the hopes to rebound after last year’s record-low ratings, and keep the show’s running time at only three hours. And though not having a host wasn’t initially part of the plan (Kevin Hart dropped out following public uproar over his past homophobic remarks), it could turn out to be one of the best things about the night – both for the show’s producers and the people watching.
“If you book presenters properly and they are big enough stars, you don’t need a host,” Jeff Margolis, who directed the Oscars telecast eight times, told Business Insider.
Along with directing many of the shows during its high-rated glory days in the 1990s, Margolis also knows something about doing the Oscars without a host. The first Oscars awards telecast he ever directed was in 1989, the last time the show didn’t have a host.
Though that year is infamously known for having a disastrous 11-plus minute opening musical number that featured a singing duet between Snow White and Rob Lowe, show producer Allan Carr filled the telecast with huge stars as presenters. They included hot “it” couple at the time Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, and legendary duos from the movies like “Vertigo” stars Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak.
“Allan called it, ‘couples, companions, and compadres,'” Margolis said about how they put together the presenters. “And it really worked.”
The Academy looks to be taking a page from that night 30 years ago to book talent for this year’s show.
There have been reports that producers are trying to get many of the actors who play Marvel’s Avengers to hit the stage on Oscar night.
“That might be the only thing that’s good,” Lili Fini Zanuck, who produced the 72nd Oscars in 2000 with her husband Richard D. Zanuck, told Business Insider about this year’s show not having a host.
“If you only have a voice of God-type thing it might be better off,” she said. “There are other shows that do that. It might save a lot of time.”
The 91st Academy Awards air on ABC February 24.
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