Host or no host: Do award shows need celebrity guides?


Glitz, glamour, movie royalty and award statues of a very muscular gold man – the Oscars has it all. The 91st Academy Awards will air Feb. 24, but unlike previous years, it seems the world has been talking about the Oscars a lot more than usual. This year, the Oscars will air with no host for the first time in 30 years, and headline after headline shows that people can’t get enough of this story. 

Back in December, Kevin Hart was announced as the 2019 Oscars host, but this didn't last for long. Just a few days after, old tweets resurfaced from 2009 to 2011 where Hart had made a multitude of offensive jokes in regard to the LGBTQ+ community. The backlash was tremendous and Hart, quite fervently, said he would not apologize nor would he host the Oscars. 

Well that was two months ago, and since then, the Academy, in order to save time during the show, said it will not be having a host at all. With the announcement of the award show forging on with no host, many have wondered if the show will be a disaster and if not having a host takes away from the allure of the show. But Good Morning America anchor T.J. Holmes said it best – “No host, no problem, the show has to go on.” 

So are the Oscars really doomed with no host, or is Holmes and his “the show must go on” mentality onto something? Award show hosts, after all, usually just do a heavily planned opening monologue, and then pop up intermittently throughout the program. 

The performance of a host can go bad quickly with old, overused jokes, long and rehearsed monologues that fall flat and trip-ups over teleprompter joke lines. The Ringer echoed this sentiment when Alison Herman described the show as “an evening-long straitjacket you need to make look like a tux.” Herman continued, “The job may seem ritzy, but it’s considered one of the hardest in show business.”

It’s true — they’re either too political, not “woke enough,” too loud and obnoxious or too boring. They just can’t win. In true American fashion, we are greedy and demanding of award show hosts and with those expectations we are disappointed time and time again. So what is the big deal if we don’t have a host?

Well again, in true American fashion, we romanticize traditions and award show hosts are just that – tradition. But it doesn't mean they are necessary to the success of award shows nor does it mean their bits are good. Award shows may actually pan out even better without a single host.

“Instead of a single host tying the show together, that job will fall to various celebrity presenters who will likely step in throughout the night to introduce segments, hand out awards and, according to Variety’s sources, perform skits and musical numbers,” according to Vox.

While many of us aren’t used to watching award shows without hosts, we must understand this is a position we have, for the most part, just grown used to. Furthermore, an award show function can still be just as entertaining without a host. 

It's refreshing to see new things and break from tradition sometimes, as some traditions are actually quite unnecessary. Award shows, after all, are about celebrating art and the Oscars should be just about celebrating film. 

While it’s nice to see an award show host perfectly deliver a monologue and nail their bits. The truth is, this rarely happens. There is so much pressure put on hosts to do something or be someone they’re not, all in the name of having a celebrity host the show. In reality, hosting is nothing but a tradition and an excuse to put celebs through the wringer. The Oscars, and any award show for that matter, will be just fine without a host and as they say in show business, the show must go on. 


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