91st Oscars thrives without host

For Sunday night’s 91st Academy Awards, a hostless show saw a bump in ratings, a shorter runtime and witty and engaging presenters, which raises the question of whether the Oscars are better off without a host.

In December, it was announced that comedian Kevin Hart was going to host the Oscars, but after old controversial tweets of his surfaced, Hart apologized and decided to step down from the position. By February, the Oscars were unable to find a replacement and opted to only have presenters instead of a host. The last time the awards ceremony went without a host was in 1989, which featured an awkward duet between Rob Lowe and Snow White that many filmmakers and actors found embarrassing.

However, this year’s Oscars will be remembered for its successful host-free show.

The presenters carried the show similar to the way a host would. The first presenters were former SNL castmates Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who poked fun at the Oscars. Other presenters included Melissa McCarthy, who was decked out in an elaborate royal dress covered with plush rabbit puppets to present Best Costume Design. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey both lived up to their famous “Wayne’s World” characters to introduce Best Picture nominee “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and surprise presenter Julia Roberts graced the stage to award Best Picture.

The program had a runtime of around three hours and 15 minutes, meaning that the Oscars rebounded from an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers in 2018 with early numbers reporting a 14 percent increase from last year.

With a host, the show on average is four hours long and is filled with lengthy monologues. The increase of ratings is a positive sign that a host-free show was the right move, along with limiting the length of speeches and musical performances.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was the big winner of the night, sweeping four awards, including Best Actor for front-runner Rami Malek. “Roma,” “Black Panther” and “Green Book” also picked up three awards each, with “Green Book” nabbing Best Picture.

The show also saw electrifying performances. Adam Lambert kicked off the show with an energizing Queen two-song medley, and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper gave an intimate and toned-down performance of “Shallow” from their film “A Star Is Born,” which was awarded Best Original Song later in the night.

Director Spike Lee took home his first Oscar for Adapted Screenplay for his film “BlacKkKlansman,” and Olivia Colman shocked the crowd with her Best Actress win for her role as Queen Anne in “The Favourite,” and gave a charming and emotional acceptance speech.

Sunday night’s Oscars was also the first time in Oscar history that a majority of the acting awards were awarded to people of color. Regina King won Best Supporting Actress for her role in “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Green Book.” Ruth E. Carter, who will give the commencement address to Suffolk’s College of Arts and Sciences at graduation this year, became the first ever African-American woman to win Best Costume Design, for her work in “Black Panther.”

Without a host, this year’s Oscars seemed bound for disaster, but with a night of history-making moments, the Oscars appeared better off without.