After scrambling to find a replacement for actor and comedian Kevin Hart, this year’s Academy Awards ceremony will reportedly not feature a host for the first time in three decades.
According to Variety, the Oscars will take on a new format, with producers set to delegate the role of emcee to a selection of A-listers who will introduce various segments. The broadcast will also fill the void left by Hart with skits while relying heavily on music due to the success of films such as “A Star Is Born,” according to an insider.
Stars producers are hoping to book for the Feb. 24 broadcast include the cast of Marvel’s “The Avengers” franchise, the Hollywood Reporter reported Thursday.
The last time the evening had no host was during the 61st Academy Awards in March 1989, which began with a widely mocked musical number starring Rob Lowe and Snow White.
Hart, a previous Oscars presenter, stepped down as host of the Feb. 24 show on Dec. 6, days after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selected him following a prolonged search amid declining ratings for the annual broadcast. The choice of Hart quickly came under fire, with critics noting the comedian’s previous tweets and jokes expressing homophobia.
Hart, pressured by the academy to formally apologize, initially offered a non-apology.
“I’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I moved on, and I’m in a completely different space in my life,” Hart said in a video on Instagram. “I’m going to be me; I’m going to stand my ground.”
Later that day, Hart quit ― and apologized for the homophobic tweets.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s….this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,” he wrote on Twitter. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
The academy in early January reconsidered Hart, after a controversial campaign led by former Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres, interviewing Hart on her talk show, said she had contacted the academy to advocate for Hart to host the awards show, and said she forgave Hart for his homophobic comments.
Hart explained to DeGeneres his reason for not apologizing at first, and defensively said he had been the victim of “a malicious attack on my character.”
“This wasn’t an accident. This wasn’t a coincidence. It wasn’t a coincidence that the day after I received the job, tweets somehow manifested from 2008,” Hart told DeGeneres. “That’s an attack, that’s a malicious attack on my character, that’s an attack to end me, that’s not an attack to just stop the Oscars.”
A week later, Hart declared once and for all that he would not host the awards show — while continuing to defend his response to the debacle.
“I’m done with it,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I’ve done all that I can do … I shouldn’t have to prove who I am.”
The academy, locked into a broadcasting deal with ABC until 2028, faces ratings and financial pressures that also include its long-anticipated $388 million museum, set to open in late 2019.
In August, organizers haphazardly announced a new awards category to honor “popular film,” which critics saw as a ploy to lure more viewers to the annual show. After widespread criticism, some of it from academy members, the group shelved the idea, but said they may reconsider in future years.
A spokesperson for the Academy Awards did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
This article has been updated to include The Hollywood Reporter’s report that “The Avengers” actors are being sought.