It was only a matter of time: comedian, actor and business mogul Kevin Hart can now add Oscar host to his resume.
For the first time, Hart will be the host of the 91st Academy Awards ceremony, which will be held in Hollywood on February 24, 2019. There will also be first-time producers on board with Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss overseeing the show. Hart will be taking the mantle from Jimmy Kimmel, who has been the host for the last two ceremonies.
“For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same…I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s suppose to. I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars,” Hart shared on social media.
“I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time… To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now. I want to thank my family/friends/fans for supporting me & riding with me all this time… I will be sure to make this year’s Oscars a special one. I appreciate the opportunity …now it’s time to rise to the occasion.”
Kimmel congratulated Hart on landing the gig, tweeting:
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) December 5, 2018
Hart’s sign-up comes as the Academy is looking to shake things up a bit following a few years of dwindling ratings. The Oscars saw a record-low turnout of 26.5 million tuned in last March, pushing the Academy to reconsider their approach. Earlier this year the Academy announced some of those changes: the televised ceremony will not exceed three hours and will not be airing all the awards in the 24 categories. Those not shown on television – around 6 to 8 awards – will be announced before the audience during ad breaks, with snippets shown later in the broadcast.
The Academy had also announced a “Best Popular Movie” category that would be focusing on mainstream, box office-healthy fare, but that didn’t go down well. The idea was met with backlash from many; the next month the Academy said they were shelving the idea.
Hart certainly has experience hosting big televised awards. He and his Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle co-star Dwayne Johnson teamed up to host the MTV Movie Awards in 2016.
It will be interesting to see how much leeway Hart is given when it comes to the jokes, as some past “edgy” comedians such as Chris Rock had the buzz going in only to be held back with arguably all-too safe quips. We’ll find out on February 24.