After three years in a row without a host, Hollywood’s biggest awards show returns with an emcee when it launches in March. Announced by Craig Erwich, president of ABC Entertainment as well as head of programming at Hulu, this year’s Oscars are ready to return with a host in tow.
The Academy Awards began their hostless experiment in 2019, when they were originally awarded host Kevin Hart dropped the post after receiving public criticism. Instead of pressing a replacement, the organization chose to go without an emcee, and the ceremony opened with a film montage instead of a monologue, with awards handed out by a revolving door of actors.
The 2019 ceremony saw an increase in viewership, leading ABC to try the same hostless event again in 2020. The award ceremony, which aired just before COVID lockdowns, had an audience of 23.64 million viewers and was seen as a general success. But the 2021 ceremony, which also remained hostless, caused this figure to drop markedly to just 10.4 million. It is currently the lowest viewership of the Academy Awards since 1974.
No details have been released about potential hosts for the 2022 ceremony. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel was the last official host of the ceremony, having done so in 2017 and 2018 to generally positive reviews. Other previous favorites include Chris Rock, with its second hosting period in 2016, Ellen DeGeneres with his famous group selfie in 2014 and acting legend Whoopi Goldberg, hosted four times between 1992 and 2002.
The 94th Academy Awards are set to be produced by Will Packer. In an interview with the Television Critics Association, Erwich expressed confidence in Packer’s abilities, saying “Really want his pulse on popular culture and entertainment, I know he has a lot to look forward to and we will soon have more details to share.” Glenn Weiss must direct the show for the seventh year in a row.
This year’s ceremony returns to the Dolby Theater at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California. Oscar nominations will be announced on February 8, with the ceremony airing on March 27 on ABC at. 20.00 ET.
As for Martin Scorsese: “He does not know what it’s like because he has never made one,” says Holland.
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