The Oscars Awards will have a host for the first time in three years when the event airs on ABC on March 27.
On Tuesday morning during ABC’s section of the winter Television Critics Association virtual press tour, Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment, stated that the Oscars will return to a host. But he made no mention of who it may be. Erwich indicated to himself before congratulating Oscars executive producer Will Packer.
“Will has his finger on the pulse of popular culture and entertainment,” Erwich added. “I believe he has a lot planned for us, and we’ll have more information to share with you soon.”
Jimmy Kimmel was the most recent Academy Awards host, emceeing the program in 2017 and 2018 to generally positive reviews. Chris Rock (2016), Neil Patrick Harris (2015), Ellen DeGeneres (2014), Seth MacFarlane (2013), Billy Crystal (2012), and James Franco/Anne Hathaway (2012) were among the other hosts throughout the last decade (2011). The MacFarlane and Franco/Hathaway appearances were perceived as an attempt by ABC and the Academy to appeal to a younger audience, but reviewers were not impressed, to say the least.
The Oscar position, once considered one of the most coveted hosting roles in Hollywood, has become more thankless in the age of social media and the never-ending critiques of whoever is on stage. But the true end of the line for Oscar host came in 2019 when the Academy announced Kevin Hart as the next host. Hart ultimately chose to withdraw after the organization urged him to apologize for years-old homophobic statements; as a result, the 2019 event was left without a host.
Because the 2019 Oscars experienced a rise in ratings over the previous year, the Academy and ABC opted to forego a host in 2020 as well. The ratings fell somewhat, but the COVID-delayed Oscars in 2021, held at Union Station and likewise without a host, lost more than half of their audience.
After the Oscars dropped to 10.4 million viewers in 2021, down from 23.6 million in 2020, ABC will undoubtedly want to reverse that trend this year.
Earlier on Tuesday, ABC revealed that Glenn Weiss will oversee the Academy Awards for the seventh time in a row.