Actor/comedian Kevin Hart was named Tuesday the host of the 2019 Academy Awards ceremony, replacing late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who has led the telecast the past two years.
“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 on his Instagram page. “I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars.
“I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time. To be able to join the legendary list of (hosts) that have graced that stage is unbelievable. I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now. I want to thank my family/friends/fans for supporting me & riding with me all this time. I will be sure to make this year’s Oscars a special one. I appreciate (the Academy) for the opportunity. Now it’s time to rise to the occasion.”
The Oscar ceremony will be held Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Hart will be helming a ceremony that is undergoing some critical changes aimed at bolstering interest and improving sagging ratings. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced earlier this year that the telecast will be strictly limited to three hours to prevent a repeat of some past shows that have dragged past 3 1/2 hours and even neared four hours.
To accomplish that goal, about a half-dozen awards are expected to be presented during commercial breaks, with highlights then edited and aired later in the broadcast. The Academy had also planned to introduce a category recognizing “popular films,” but that proposal has been temporarily shelved amid questions about how it will be determined.
Beginning in 2020, the Academy plans to move up the date of the ceremony to earlier in February.