It was all going well at the 2019 Oscars, at least at first.  

First there was Queen. Who doesn’t love, or at least like, Queen? Then Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph came onstage, and they reminded us of when Fey and Poehler hosted the Golden Globes and we all laughed.

Even the first acceptance speech of the night, Regina King’s for best supporting actress, was good and genuine and emotional. And it seemed like the Academy was actually going to pull off this crazy, hostless Oscars telecast. 

But it really, really didn’t.

They might not have been the hosts of the 2019 Oscars, but Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler kicked off the night with a shoutout to USA TODAY! (Photo11: Courtesy A.M.P.A.S.© 2019)

The 2019 Oscar telecast lacked energy and comedy, and was treacherously dull. And maybe that could have been avoided if the Academy had done what it has (almost) always done, and procured a host. 

The decision to forgo one after Kevin Hart backed out has been one of many controversies plaguing the Oscars this awards season ( “Green Book,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a plan to give out four awards during commercials).

In December, Hart stepped down from the gig after earlier homophobic tweets were unearthed, and ABC and the Academy decided against a replacement. Instead, they leaned into the idea of going hostless – for the first time since 1989 – as an exciting experiment that would lead, at least, to a shorter telecast. 

For the first hour or so, the novelty and general amiability of the presenters and winners made it seem like the host had been the thing dragging down the Oscars all these years. This year’s broadcast was, indeed, faster paced, and we still got to laugh a few times and see some songs.

So what would a probably male, probably comedic host have added by taking up air time and spewing Trump jokes that we’ve all heard before? A thematic through line and entertainment element that this year’s Oscars desperately needed. 

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