January 10, 2019

The Academy has a real mess on its hands with the 2019 Oscars, and they're hoping Earth's mightiest heroes can rescue them.

The group that puts on the Oscars has evidently settled on not having a single host this year; instead, the broadcast will feature a line-up of celebrities in different segments rather than being anchored around one person, as first reported by Variety and then by The Hollywood Reporter. But the Reporter adds that in an attempt to make up for the lack of host, the Academy's plan is to bring in the cast members of the Avengers films, among other stars.

It's unclear who might be available or how exactly they might be factored into the show, but the Reporter notes that ABC is hoping for as many Marvel stars as possible, noting that Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, and Samuel L. Jackson already appeared on 2013's show. Seeing as Disney owns both Marvel and ABC, the network that broadcasts the Oscars, this pairing does seem natural, especially since it can serve as a shameless plug for both Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, the former of which opens just a week after the big night.

Comedian Kevin Hart was originally tapped to host the Oscars, only to step down within days after past homophobic tweets resurfaced. Although the prospect of him returning to host was briefly raised last week, Hart ruled it out, and the Academy has apparently not been able to find a replacement. Now, Variety reports the group is "scrambling" to put together a star-studded lineup that would fill the void and draw in as many viewers as a big-name host might. After last year's dismal numbers, the Academy can only pray the Avengers will prevent their ratings from being snapped in half. Brendan Morrow

2:30 p.m.

Mort Drucker, the beloved artist known for his work at MAD magazine, has died at 91.

Drucker died Wednesday at his home in New York, his friend John Reiner confirmed to The New York Times. Reiner told CNN's Jake Tapper his death was not thought to be related to COVID-19.

After joining MAD in 1956, Drucker's hilarious caricatures satirizing pop culture soon became iconic, and he illustrated more than half of the magazine's movie parodies from the 1960s through 2008, per the Times. In a 2000 interview with the Times, he noted, "I think I've drawn almost everyone in Hollywood."

Among Drucker's other notable work includes the poster for George Lucas' American Graffiti; according to The Hollywood Reporter, Lucas personally drove to Drucker's home on Long Island to convince him to draw it.

"The World has lost a not just an extraordinary talent but a shining example of kindness, humility and humor," the National Cartoonists Society said in a statement.

MAD fans on Thursday quickly began sharing their favorite cartoons from Drucker's legendary career, including his parodies of Jaws and Star Wars. "Many of his illustrations are as vivid in my mind as the movies and TV shows that inspired them," The New York Times' Dave Itzkoff wrote.

Reiner told CNN's Jake Tapper that Drucker's final words to him were, "I'm the luckiest man — I've had a wonderful life." Brendan Morrow

2:11 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump is officially donning a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic, although the jury's still out on whether her husband will follow suit.

In a social media post Thursday, the first lady shared a photo of herself wearing what appears to be a surgical mask, touting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation "to wear cloth face coverings."

"Remember, this does NOT replace the importance of social distancing," she wrote. "It is recommended to keep us all safe."

Melania's masking comes one week after President Trump announced he would not be wearing a mask, despite the CDC-issued guidelines urging people to do so. At the time, Trump implied that it would be odd to be "sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful Resolute Desk" while wearing a mask, so it's unclear how he's taking this news.

The photo of the first lady appears to show her wearing a surgical mask rather than the CDC-recommended "cloth face covering," the former of which is recommended only for use by health care professionals and medical first responders amid critical supply shortages.