Oscars to go hostless for the second time

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The Oscars will this year be without a host for just the second time since the annual awards ceremony began in 1929.

ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said the event on February 24 (February 25 in Australia) would, “just have presenters host the Oscars”.

Speaking three weeks before the event, Ms Burke said she would hear details from the show producers later this week but said there were plans for “a pretty exciting opening” to the telecast despite the lack of a host.

ABC, a unit of Walt Disney Co, televises the Oscars ceremony annually and is closely involved in planning the telecast.

Some of the “phenomenal” line-up of presenters that will host the event include Tina Fey, Awkwafina, Daniel Craig, Tessa Thompson, Chris Evans and Constance Wu.

The ceremony also has box-office hits Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born vying for best picture, which could boost TV viewership.

The 2018 show drew a record-low 26.5 million people, a 20-per-cent drop from the 2017 show and the first time Oscar viewership dipped below 30 million, according to Nielsen records that go back to 1974.

Last year’s best-picture winner, The Shape of Water, only grossed $57.4 million in the US.

“I have found that the lack of clarity around the Oscars has kept the Oscars in the conversation and that the mystery has been really compelling,” Ms Burke said.

“People really care.”

She called the interest proof the Oscars were still relevant.

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