Who the Oscars should now pick to host

The Kevin Hart Oscars hosting controversy is just the latest scandal to haunt the bedeviled Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences — and to knock ABC’s reputation further into the basement.

With the Feb. 24 telecast not as far away as you think — and the memory of last Oscar’s 20 percent ratings drop fresh in everyone’s mind — the Academy is scrambling to find a host. But no one seems to want the job; those who might have seemed initially appealing (Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, former two-time host Chris Rock) have been deemed unsuitable because of prior controversial remarks and/or tweets.

Yes, the choice of who hosts the biggest showbiz event of the year has come down to what’s on your Twitter feed.

The Academy’s past attempts to pander to the young demographic have been doomed. In 2011, it paired Anne Hathaway and James Franco in an attempt to “get young,” and came up with a truly bizarre evening. In 2019, it will be very surprising if any “kids,” outside of those who work for media companies, watch the Oscars. If they care at all who wins, they look it up on Twitter or Instagram. They certainly won’t park their rear ends on a couch for up to four hours waiting for some star’s name to be called — as if it’s 1972 and some instant classic like “The Godfather” is going to win Best Picture.

Hollywood is kicking into high gear now for awards season with critics handing out trophies, and unions like the Screen Actors Guild nominating their own members. ABC, which learned nothing about vetting talent from the Roseanne Barr Twitter scandal, has sold more than three-quarters of its commercial inventory for the Feb. 24 live broadcast, according to Variety — charging anywhere from $2 to $3 million per 30-second ad. Apparently they didn’t do their homework on Hart, who dropped out as host after the surfacing of old homophobic tweets. What they need is someone who can put on a show, not just someone who can make wisecracks. And please, no more lectures. We know where Hollywood stands politically. Save it for the voting booth.

If edgy is completely out of the question, Hugh Jackman, who hosted the show in 2009 and who’s had several high-profile roles in prestige films and blockbusters since, would be a great choice. He may seem to some like an old-fashioned style entertainer (and played P.T. Barnum in “The Greatest Showman”) but guess what: The Oscars are as old-fashioned as that Isotta-Fraschini Norma Desmond drives onto the studio lot in “Sunset Boulevard.”

Two-time Oscar nominee Bette Midler, who’s coming off a major triumph on Broadway with “Hello, Dolly,” could be another smart choice: she’s hilarious, naughty but somehow adorable, and is a Hollywood insider. She knows how to work a room — and then some. But she, too, has faced public backlash over several problematic tweets — so caveat emptor if ABC looks down that road for a host. At the very least, she would likely draw viewers who might not otherwise tune in (never a bad thing). Maybe they’ll just go with a rotating roster of stars who’ll come out, open the envelope, read the winners and exit the stage gracefully.

The Oscars have only a few more chances to get it right before the audience gives up altogether. Remember when the Daytime Emmys aired on network television? Neither does anyone else.

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