Speed Reads

and the hosting duties go to...

A short history of the Oscars' recent hosting drama as Jimmy Kimmel returns

Will the third time be the charm for Jimmy Kimmel and the Academy Awards?

Kimmel has been confirmed to host the 2023 Oscars, which will make him the ceremony's first solo emcee since 2018. This will be his third time as host. 

The comedian last hosted the Oscars in 2018, and the following year, Kevin Hart was hired for hosting duties. But Hart stepped down after backlash to homophobic jokes and tweets. Since no one was hired to replace him, the 2019 Oscars simply had no host. Initially, some pundits argued this was a good thing, and the ratings went up, so there was also no host in 2020 or 2021.

After ratings declined in these subsequent years, though, the Academy brought back a host in 2022 — three of them. Amy Schumer, Regina Hall, and Wanda Sykes hosted earlier this year, and the hope was they could appeal to different demographics and increase the audience. Viewership went up, but the 2022 ceremony still draw its second smallest audience ever.

Some also criticized the three hosts for not addressing Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage immediately after it happened, and Kimmel said "one of the drawbacks of having three hosts" was it "wasn't clear who should go out there and handle it." 

Now, the Academy has returned to having a single host, though seemingly not with its first choice. In August, Chris Rock confirmed he was asked to host the 2023 Oscars, which could help boost ratings in the wake of the slap, but turned it down. 

Kimmel joked he's happy to accept hosting duties "after everyone good said no." The Academy may also have in mind that he has experience handling an on-air disaster should anything like the Will Smith slap happen again, as Kimmel hosted in 2017 when the wrong Best Picture winner was announced.

The 2023 Oscars are scheduled for March 12.