The announcement was made Tuesday morning by the president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment, Craig Erwich, during the network’s winter Television Critics Association press tour slot. While no word of this year’s host could be was announced, Erwich expressed his faith in executive producer Will Packer’s choice, saying, “Will really has his pulse on popular culture and entertainment. I know he has a lot in store and we’ll have more details to share soon.”
The awards have remained host-less for the past three years, as 2019 host Kevin Hart dropped out after apologizing for old homophobic tweets. That year’s ceremony saw an increase in ratings, prompting ABC and the Academy to continue the no-host trend in 2020 to less success. Last year’s COVID-delayed ceremony lost over half its audience, so the return of a host may help bring back old viewers.
In recent years, James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosted the ceremony in 2011, followed by Billy Crystal (2012), Seth MacFarlane (2013), Ellen DeGeneres (2014), Neil Patrick Harris (2015), Chris Rock (2016), and Kimmel in 2017 and 2018.
“Would an actual host have made this year’s Oscars better or worse or, at least, something to remember?” TV Insider’s Senior Critic Matt Roush mused after the 2019 ceremony. “We’ll never know, but Julia Roberts summed things up after presenting the best-picture Oscar when she blurted out, ‘Well, apparently that wraps up the 91st Academy Awards.’ And a good shrug was had by all.”
Also announced Tuesday morning, Glenn Weis will return to direct the ceremony for his seventh year in a row. Nominations will be announced on February 8.
The 94th Academy Awards, Sunday, March 27, 8/7c, ABC