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Kevin Hart to Host 91st Academy Awards in February

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Kevin Hart will host the 2019 Oscars in February.

by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves an Oscar host. Actor and comedian Kevin Hart will emcee the 91st Academy Awards telecast on February 24, 2019.

Hart announced the news Tuesday afternoon on his Instagram account.

Hart follows in the footsteps of Jimmy Kimmel, who had the hosting gig the past two years. The Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star will work with producers Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss, who will oversee the production for the first time. Weiss will also direct.

The move comes at a time when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is in desperate need of a ratings boost for its annual telecast. Last year, the audience declined to an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers (from a recent high in 2014 of 43 million viewers) and the organization, along with its broadcaster ABC, have suggested radical changes to help improve the show’s viewership, including a promise that it will not run over three hours.

To help manage this change, the Academy intends to present some six to eight of the 24 awards during the commercial breaks and edit the acceptance speeches into the broadcast.

Hart previously co-hosted the MTV Movie Awards along with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, his Jumanji and Central Intelligence co-star.

Kevin Hart’s career has been on a tear since he transitioned from his popular stand-up comedy specials to feature films, specializing in buddy comedies with co-stars as disparate as Tiffany Haddish (Night School), Ice Cube (the Ride Along films), and Will Ferrell (Get Hard). Last year’s ensemble Jumanji has been his biggest grosser to date, earning over $400 million domestically (and almost $1 billion globally) and prompting a sequel. The star will be required to walk a tightrope on Oscar night, playing up his frenetic personality and fast-talking humor while staying away from any political topics that could prove too controversial for the worldwide audience.

Hart’s good-natured charm should go a long way to reversing the ratings slide of recent years, but so many other variables will have to be factored in to see if the Academy can right the ship.

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This story was originally published by Vanity Fair

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