The 2019 Academy Awards are still set for Feb. 24, but the Academy apparently didn't have a backup plan if comedian Kevin Hart didn't come back to take the hosting duties after the offer was extended.
Now, the Oscars will go host-less — something that hasn't occurred since 1989.
What's the back story?
In December, the Academy announced that they'd tapped Hart to host the upcoming awards ceremony. Less than 48 hours later, Hart bowed out of his hosting duties after a social media mob came after him for decade-old tweets (as social media mobs do).
A contentious couple of weeks followed, in which Hart appeared on "Ellen" with Ellen DeGeneres, who said that she'd struck a deal with Academy executives to get Hart back on board in hosting the show. Hart seemed taken aback by the news, and said that he'd keep an open mind about hosting.
On Wednesday, however, Hart shut down speculation that he would host the annual awards show. Appearing on "Good Morning America," he said he simply wasn't doing it, and was done apologizing for irrelevant social media remarks.
So what's the Academy doing now?
The plan, as per those reportedly in the know, is to feature a bevy of A-list entertainers to "introduce various segments," instead of typically relying on "one marquee name to kick things off in a monologue filled with Trump zingers."
The show's producers, as well as the Academy, are reportedly "scrambling" in order to secure these A-listers for their casual segments.
"Hand-wringing at the Academy," Variety's Matt Donnelly writes, "has been palpable."
The outlet reported that, as of this writing, neither producers nor the Academy have reached out to one single host to step into Hart's shoes.
A spokesperson for the Academy did not provide a comment to Variety about the host status of its upcoming show.
In 2018, Oscars ratings' dropped nearly 19 percent year over year to a paltry 26.5 million viewers — marking it the lowest-rated Oscars show in 44 years. In 2000, more than 46 million people tuned in to the telecast.
“The people who produce that show are hogtied by the Academy, who as a group are not willing to change very much," an awards show and live events producer anonymously told the outlet. "It's hard to know how anyone in my community can really contribute."