red a series of missteps leading up to the telecast, beginning with the proposal to introduce a “popular film” category. That id
ea was quickly scuttled, as was a subsequent plan to move four awards into the commercial breaks to help st
reamline the ceremony, which prompted a rebellion from Academy members.
In between, Kevin Hart was chosen to host the awards, before the resurfacing of homophobic socia
l-media posts prompted the comic to withdraw. After a period of confusion, it was finally co
nfirmed the awards would be mounted without a host, the first time that’s happened in 30 years.
Much of the tumult surrounding the 91st annual Oscars can be traced back to la
st year’s awards — and more specifically, a precipitous ratings decline, fall
ing to an all-time low. Shortening the ceremony to three hours, or close to it, has been among the solutions that host net
work ABC has advocated as a means of stopping the bleeding from a Nielsen standpoint.