LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – After some renewed optimism that Kevin Hart would change his mind on hosting next month’s Academy Awards, the comedian seemingly closed the door Wednesday on any chance of doing so following the whirlwind of controversy over homophobic comments he made several years ago.
In an appearance on “Good Morning America,” Hart told Michael Strahan definitively that he will not be hosting.
“Is there hope that you would host the Oscars this year?” Strahan asked.
“No,” Hart replied.
“So that’s an absolute no?”
“Yes, I’m not hosting the Oscars this year,” Hart reiterated.
The Academy has not named a replacement since Hart stepped down.
“Right now, from a time perspective, I don’t have the time,” Hart told Strahan.
“Unfortunately, I can’t do it this year, it’s not going to happen,” he added.
With just six weeks to go until the Feb. 24 ceremony, Variety reported Wednesday that Oscar producers are planning to move forward without a main host, instead asking several stars to introduce various segments.
The Oscars has only gone without a host once in its entire 91-year history: exactly three decades ago in 1989. According to Variety, it opened that show with an 11-minute musical number instead of a monologue.
The hosting controversy began on Dec. 4, when Hart announced he had accepted an invitation to host the Oscars. Just two days later, Hart stepped down after anti-gay tweets, mostly dated from 2009-2011, surfaced.
However, in an appearance on the “Ellen” show last week, Ellen DeGeneres – who herself hosted in 2014 — revealed to Hart that she had called the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to ask the organization if it would consider bringing him back to host. According to DeGeneres, the Academy was very much open to having him back.
“I called them,” DeGeneres told Hart. “I said, ‘Kevin’s on, I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?’ And they were like, ‘Oh my God, we want him to host. We feel like, that maybe, he misunderstood, or it was handled wrong, or maybe we said the wrong thing, but we want him to host. Whatever we could do, we would be thrilled, but he should host the Oscars.’”
In response, Hart told DeGeneres he was reassessing whether to host. However, on Wednesday he told Strahan that he was sticking with his original decision.