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Oscars 2019: No Host? No Problem! The Emcee-Free Night Was a Triumph

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Hosts can make awards shows sublime experiences (think Neil Patrick Harris at the 2013 Tonys) or stodgy sufferfests (we’re still cringing over Anne Hathaway and James Franco at the 2011 Oscars). But after all of the drama leading up to this year’s Academy Awards broadcast, the Oscars chose to air the ceremony without anyone offering quippy banter or scripted bits amid the trophy hand-outs.

Was the host-less tribute to feature films a success? Oh, hell yes.

Right from that first, energetic musical performance by Queen and Adam Lambert, this year’s Oscars felt infused by an energy that did not flag throughout the three-hour(ish) event. The evening moved along at a steady clip, unencumbered by dragging comedic bits or jokes that just wouldn’t land. And was it just us, or did the presenters — perhaps because they assumed a greater responsibility for keeping the night on track — seem more committed to their duties than in years past?

You’ll recall that, as recently as December 2018, the Oscars had a hosted lined up: Comedian Kevin Hart announced that he would emcee the annual event, only to step down a few days later after not-really apologizing for homophobic sentiments he’d tweeted in the past. At the beginning of February, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed that no one would host the 2019 broadcast.

The move isn’t without precedent. In Oscars history, the show has gone without a host five times; the most recent instance happened in 1988. And given what transpired Sunday inside Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, we’d be more than happy to see a host-less Oscars this time next year.

Now we want to hear what you think. Via the polls below, grade this year’s host-free Oscars and then weigh in with which telecast format you prefer. And then make sure to hit the comments to elaborate on your thoughts!

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