Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall have been set to host the 94th Oscars, which is returning to an emcee format for the first time since 2018. Deadline confirmed the news Monday.
The news is expected to be announced officially Tuesday on ABC’s Good Morning America. ABC is airing the awards ceremony March 27. Organizer the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences declined comment on the host news today.
This year’s Academy Awards are being produced by Will Packer, whose long list of hit TV and film successes includes Girls Trip, which starred Hall among its ensemble. The trio of hosts that includes comedy veterans Sykes and Schumer indicates a plan to get some humor injected into the proceedings, though it’s unclear how the duties will be meted out among the three.
Variety confirmed the Oscar host news first today.
The Oscars are coming off a 2021 telecast that was the lowest-rated ever, hampered by pandemic constraints (the show was held with reduced capacity at Los Angeles’ Union Station instead of its normal home at the Dolby Theatre) and a lineup of movies that were tougher to see in a year in which cinemas were impacted by Covid restrictions.
This year’s Oscars return to full capacity at the Dolby as the latest Omicron variety continues to subside. Last week, it was confirmed that the Academy will not be requiring shots, just a recent negative test, to attend. Masks also might be jettisoned as Los Angeles County could by then be following the state in removing the mandate for large indoor crowds. California Gov. Gavin Newsom promised an announcement on that front early this week.
The search for host went through all kinds of manifestations. It has long been considered a thankless job, and that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. But last year’s host-less debacle made it clear they needed someone to center the telecast. The Academy first approached Dwayne Johnson, who took a pass. Entreaties to tandems like Pete Davidson and John Mulaney, and Steve Martin and Martin Short, also didn’t work. Davidson didn’t care for the experience cohosting New Year’s Eve with Miley Cyrus we hear, and Martin and Short conveniently have a stop on their comedy tour in Connecticut that night. Along the way, Oscarcast producer Will Packer shifted to a plan to have three pairs of hosts. Many were asked, but it looks like Sykes, Schumer and Hall will run solo, each hosting a leg of the telecast. Sources said a few dozen potential Oscarcast hosts were approached. Having multiple hosts removes the stigma of inevitable brickbats from being absorbed by one person.
Even though the presentation of the nominees was blighted by Leslie Jordan’s inability to pronounce what seemed like every name put in front of him, we hear that the ploy introduced during tht exercise, of engaging Joe Q Public to give input on films they love, will find its way into the Oscarcast. Sykes and Schumer are edgy and bright stand up comediennes, and Hall has demonstrated comic timing as an actress. For them, so much will depend on the writing; it was evident Tina Fey and Amy Poehler themselves wrote some of the better lines they delivered during the Golden Globes, as did Ricky Gervais. They better get cracking; in past years, Oscar hosts were named much earlier, so that rehearsals and production numbers could be worked out.
As for the movies in the hunt this year, Netflix’s The Power of the Dog leads all nominees with 12 going in, with Warner Bros/Legendary’s tentpole Dune second with 10. Once again, several of the year’s highest-profile films, including the box office juggernaut Spider-Man: No Way Home, did not get major nominations despite a rule tweak that called for an expansion of Best Picture nominees to 10 — done in part to increase the chances of getting movies on people’s radars to tune in on Oscar night.
Other pics in the key races for the March 27 Oscar ceremony include specialty fare like Japan’s International Feature Oscar submission Drive My Car, Belfast and CODA, which are also nominated for Best Picture alongside Netflix’s Power of the Dog and Don’t Look Up, Warner Bros’ Dune and King Richard, MGM/UAR’s Licorice Pizza, Searchlight’s Nightmare Alley and Disney’s West Side Story.
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