Next month’s Oscars will be hosted by three doyennes of comedy, Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall, it was confirmed Feb. 15, as organizers amp up efforts to lure viewers back to the ceremony.
It is the first time since 2018 that the Oscars will have a host, the first time since 1987 that it has had three, and the first time ever that all three will be women.
The comedians’ names were announced on ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA). ABC will broadcast the 94th Academy Awards on March 27.
“I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea, but I’m hosting the Oscars, along with my good friend Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall. I’d better go watch some movies,” Schumer said in a video selfie aired on GMA.
Television ratings for the Oscars have dramatically declined in recent years.
Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel was the last person to host the show, in 2018.
The following year’s hostless format drew praise and was even emulated by other awards shows such as the Emmys, but subsequent Oscar ceremonies have been criticized for lacking focus and humor.
Last year’s edition, which honored mainly smaller, arthouse movies such as best picture winner “Nomadland,” was watched by just over 10 million viewers — a 56 percent decline from 2020, which was already a record low.
As Oscars voters have drifted away from more mainstream fare, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has toyed with reforms to boost the ceremony’s popularity.
This year there will be a new “fan favorite” prize for the most popular film as voted for by Twitter users.
The new category was announced after several crowd-pleasing blockbusters including “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “No Time To Die” failed to earn Oscar nominations in major categories, including best picture.
In 2018, organizers proposed a “popular film” Oscar to honor blockbuster movies such as the Star Wars films or Marvel superhero pictures that rake in millions at the box office. But it swiftly shelved those plans after critics ridiculed the move, and the new “fan favorite” award will not be a formal Oscar category.
Next month’s Oscars will return to the ceremony’s traditional Dolby Theatre venue in Hollywood, after the pandemic-affected 2021 Academy Awards were held at a Los Angeles train station.
They are being held later than usual, reportedly to avoid clashing with February’s Winter Olympics and the Feb. 13 Super Bowl in Los Angeles.
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