Kevin Hart could be coming back as Oscars host. In an upcoming exclusive interview on “Ellen,” Hart told host Ellen DeGeneres that he is reconsidering his decision last month to step down as host of the 91st Academy Awards following controversy over resurfaced homophobic remarks that he made several years ago. DeGeneres, for her part, revealed that she called the Academy to ask its leaders to reconsider having Hart host the Oscars.
While DeGeneres did not specify who from the Academy she spoke with, the host said the group admitted to possibly mishandling Hart’s departure and said they were emphatic to see him return.“We want him to host, we feel like maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong, or maybe we said the wrong thing,” DeGeneres said she was told. “But we want him to host. Whatever we can do, we want him to host.”
The hour-long interview will air Friday, Jan. 4. A spokesperson for the Academy did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
On Dec. 6, Hart revealed that he was stepping down just 48 hours after it was announced that he would host the Oscars. The decision followed an outpouring of social-media criticism of Hart’s selection as host that highlighted previous anti-gay comments that Hard had made on Twitter and in his stand-up comedy act.
Hart initially refused to apologize for the resurfaced remarks, before later offering an apology to the LGBTQ community and announcing that he would not host the show.
In the “Ellen” interview, however, Hart opened the door to returning to the role.
“Leaving here I promise you I’m evaluating this conversation,” Hart told DeGeneres. “This is a conversation I needed to have, I’m glad I had it here. I’m glad it’s as authentic and real as I could’ve hoped it would be.”
DeGeneres, a previous Oscars host who is married to actress Portia de Rossi, offered support for Hart.
“What we’re going to get to see on stage with you hosting the Oscars is sophistication, class, hilarity and you growing as a person,” she said. “Because most people would say, ‘I’m walking away … ’ For you to be the bigger man, for you to say I understand …and to not pay attention. There are so many haters out there. Whatever is going on in the internet, don’t pay attention to them. That’s a small group of peopel being very, very loud. We are a huge group of people who love you and want to see you how the Oscars.”
Hart’s exit from the role sent ABC, which will broadcast the Oscars Feb. 24, and the Academy into unprecedented territory. Only on rare occasions has the Oscars host not been announced until after the New Year holiday.
The criticism directed at Hart for comments made, in some cases, as far back as 10 years ago, also dampened efforts to recruit a new host. In recent weeks, speculation that the show could be mounted without a host for the first time in decades began to grow.