The 2022 Oscars will have a host. Let the guessing game begin

For the first time since 2018, Hollywood’s biggest night will have an emcee.

During ABC’s virtual presentation at the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Tuesday, Craig Erwich, the president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment, revealed that the Academy Awards, slated for March 27, will once again have a host after going without for the past three ceremonies.

“You heard it here first,” Erwich said, though he kept mum on who exactly might take on the role last filled by Jimmy Kimmel, who emceed the event in 2017 and 2018.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The academy will no doubt be looking for a star who can help goose the show’s flagging ratings, which reached an all-time low in 2021, and one who — unlike comedian Kevin Hart, who dropped out of hosting in 2019 amid a firestorm over past homophobic tweets — will not stir up any unwelcome controversy.

Recent speculation has centered on “Spider-Man: No Way Home” star Tom Holland, who anchored the year’s biggest box-office success in what was otherwise a dismal year for Hollywood and who has expressed his openness to tackle what is often considered a thankless gig.

It’s unclear whether the lack of a host in recent years has hurt the Oscars’ viewership, which has been on a general downward trajectory for years. In 2019, in the wake of Hart’s departure, then-co-producer Donna Gigliotti said that going hostless had its advantages in speeding up the often bloated telecast: ”I don’t mean this in a bad way, but a host does eat up a fair amount of time.”

Whoever takes on the role, Erwich expressed confidence in the show’s first-time producer, Will Packer, whose film credits include “Girls Trip,” “Ride Along” and “Straight Outta Compton.”

“Will really has his finger on the pulse of popular culture and entertainment,” Erwich said. “I’m excited for Will to share his very exciting vision for the Oscars this year. I know he has a lot in store, and we’ll have more details to share soon.”

On Monday, the academy announced that veteran director Glenn Weiss will return to helm the Oscar telecast for the seventh time.

Times staff writer Yvonne Villarreal contributed to this report.

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