The Last Time the Oscars Had No Host, It Was a Disaster

It’s official; the Oscars will not have a host this year. When the 91st Academy Awards airs on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, the show will press forward with a slew of presenters and musical acts, but there will be no host in sight. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has tried to compensate for the lack of host by getting the biggest names in Hollywood to present the most prestigious movie awards of the year.

Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Brie Larson, Daniel Craig and Jennifer Lopez along with a couple of Avenger stars are all slated to present, but the show will look a lot different then what we’re used to. In fact, the last time the Oscars had no host, it was a complete disaster.

An Oscar statue
An Oscar statue | Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

When was the last time the Oscars had no host?

The last time the Oscars had no host was back in 1989 at the 61st Annual Academy Awards and to say that it was a hot mess would be the understatement of the century. The show went so badly that legends like Julie Andrews and Paul Newman sent a formal letter to the Academy complaining about how awful it was.

According to, the letter said, “The 61st Academy Awards show was an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry. It is neither fitting nor acceptable that the best work in motion pictures be acknowledged in such a demeaning fashion.”

Why was the 1989 Oscars such a disaster?

The 61st Annual Academy Awards opened with an 11-minute musical number featuring Rob Lowe and an unknown actress who portrayed Snow White. The actress whose name is Eileen Bowman participated with Lowe in the horrific musical number and a terrible sketch that went on for 15 minutes.

Not only did it ruin Bowman’s career — which had barely even gotten started,  The New York Times declared the show had earned “a permanent place in the annals of Oscar embarrassments.”

Why doesn’t anyone want to host the Oscars?

With a payout of just $15,000 and $25,000 for months of work, hosting the Academy Awards sounds like one of the worst jobs in Hollywood. After the scandal with Kevin Hart and his homophobic comments which caused him to pull out of hosting the Oscars, the Academy has not found a replacement.

Comedian Seth McFarlane who hosted the ceremony in 2013 explained to Entertainment Weekly, “Look, it’s a gig that has all eyes on it. And when you’re doing something that’s that much in the spotlight, with that much focus on it, that much intensity, you’re going to have a lot of opinions from a lot of people. I’m trying to think of the last time that I read a review of the Oscars the next day where everyone is raving about it—it’s been a long time.”

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