Kevin Hart, whom Deadline earlier today revealed as a contender to host the 91st Academy Awards, just confirmed that he’s got the gig. He will become the fourth African American to emcee the show, following Richard Pryor (1977, 1983), Whoopi Goldberg (1993, 1995, 1998, 2001) and Chris Rock (2005, 2016).
“For years I have been asked if I would ever host the Oscars and my answer was always the same…I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s suppose to,” Hart wrote in an Instagram post. “I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences followed up with a confirmation of their own.
The Academy waited awhile to name a host, after setting Donna Gigliotti — the veteran producer won the Best Picture for 1998’s Shakespeare in Love and has been nominated three times since — as producer on October 22. Live TV and awards show veteran director Glenn Weiss was named co-producer.
While an idea for using multiple hosts — a practice last employed in 1987 — was floated, the search ultimately focused on finding a comedian who can carry the telecast.
Academy president John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson and the new producing team have pledged to bring the show in at three hours and no more in the face of dropping ratings. Hart, one of the Hollywood’s top comedians and comedic actors, could go a long way to broadening the tent.
Hart has been open about his desire for the gig. Asked on the red carpet at the 2016 Oscars whether hosting the Academy Awards was on his bucket list, he said, “Of course it is, but it will happen when it’s supposed to.”
The past two years, the Oscars were hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and produced by Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd.
The 2019 Academy Awards are February 24 on ABC. Nominations are set for January 22.