Earlier this week, ABC confirmed that the 91st Annual Academy Awards telecast will not have a host. The news comes two months after there was controversy surrounding the network’s original emcee choice, Kevin Hart, who dropped out of the show after homophobic tweets that he had made in the past resurfaced.
While many celebrities said that they would love to take Hart’s place and host the biggest event of the year for members of the film industry, nobody admitted to being formally asked to fill the position by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Now, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has revealed that he was the “first choice” to host the 2019 Oscars.
The wrestler-turned-actor made the shocking news public on Twitter on Wednesday, February 6, in response to writer Dan Buffa’s suggestion that he would make a great master of ceremonies for the 2020 Academy Awards program.
“Ah mahalo dude, I was their first choice to host this year, and my goal was to make it the most fun and entertaining Oscars ever,” Johnson wrote.
“We all tried hard, but couldn’t make it work since I’m shooting Jumanji. Academy and I were super bummed but maybe one day down the road.”
He ended his tweet with the tumbler glass emoji.
The Rock’s note brings up several questions: Was the 46-year-old the Academy’s “first choice” before his BFF Hart was chosen? Or was he the first person asked after Hart stepped down? Also, how come Hart was able to find the time to host the Oscars and Johnson could not when they are both supposedly filming the sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle?
Several media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly and People, reached out to the Academy for an official comment regarding Johnson’s tweet, but did not get a response.
Regardless, this year’s Oscars will not feature a host for the first time in 30 years. At an event for the Television Critics Association on Tuesday, February 5, the president of ABC Entertainment, Karey Burke, said that going host-less will, hopefully, shorten the length of the broadcast
“The producers decided to wisely not have a host and have the presenters and the movies be the stars. That’s the best way to keep the show to a brisk three hours,” she said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“From what I’ve heard, we have a very exciting opener planned. We are not going to go straight into people thanking their agents.”
The 91st Annual Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, February 24, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.