It was just on Monday that the world watched as Ricky Gervais took to the presenter’s podium at the Golden Globes for the fifth time. There was his trademark beer placed precipitously to the right of the microphone, and the wry grin of Gervais most have come to revere with trepidation, unsure of what to expect next.
Shots were fired. After taking aim at Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein, Gervais also launched an attack at the crowd – his colleagues and other Hollywood stars – admonishing anyone who uses their winner’s speech to preach political views to refrain from lecturing the public as “most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.” And that was one of the nicer barbs traded onstage.
It was a cringe-worthy affair, and if the meme spawned from Tom Hanks’ reaction wasn’t enough to inform audiences of just how well the stars in attendance were taking it, the criticism Gervais later received seemed to echo such sentiments. So when it was announced today that the 2020 Oscars would be a hostless affair, few were surprised by the decision.
According to Karey Burke, ABC Entertainment President, the telecast of the 2020 Oscars will aim to continue the success of what worked with the 2019 show, namely: “huge entertainment value, big musical numbers, big comedy and star power.”
It’s an easy enough checklist, particularly when you consider the star power at the Golden Globes thanks to nominations that saw Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Joaquin Phoenix and more take to the awards ceremony. While Oscar nominations are still yet to be announced, it’s sure to see Hollywood’s heavyweights go head-to-head yet again.
As for the decision to go hostless, Burke said: “We expect that we’re going to have a very commercial set of nominations and a number of elements have come together that convinced us we’ll have a very entertaining show."
It also follows on from the 2019 ceremony which went hostless for the first time in three decades to a relatively successful outcome. Originally, Kevin Hart was expected to host but when homophobic remarks the comedian had made in the past surfaced online, Hart refused to apologise and stepped down.
By going hostless, it appears producers are hoping to radically reinvent the Oscars in the hope of keeping it fresh, exciting, and with an engaged audience viewing. Given the immense criticism hosts in the past have faced, such as the debacle of James Franco and Anne Hathaway’s turn, it’s not surprising few would be offering their hand to take on the responsibility. Perhaps going hostless is the better outcome – for both viewers and those attending. At least then, should a presenter’s comedic remarks fall flat, you know you won’t have to endure them for the whole evening.
Nominations for the Oscars will be announced on Monday.