Friday, July 19, 2024

Disaster: No “Upside” for Kevin Hart as Ellen DeGeneres Tries to Get Him Back Oscar Hosting Job


This week Kevin Hart should be doing one thing: promoting his abandoned and very good movie “The Upside” starring Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman. The Neil Burger directed Americanization of “The Intouchables” is really terrific, but it became collateral damage in the Weinstein Company bankruptcy.

Instead, Hart is now involved in a faux controversy over his ousting as host of this year’s Oscars. Ellen DeGeneres has caused an uproar, telling Hart on her show today that he should host the show, and that she’s called ‘The Academy’and told them so, and that they–whoever ‘they’ are– agree want him back.

WTF is going on here? Why is Ellen even involved in this? Who exactly did she call? And why? This is completely crazy. Since the news broke, the response has been incredibly negative. Hart never apologized for his homophobic jokes, and still hasn’t. As a comic he’s welcome to say whatever he wants, but as the Oscar host it just won’t fly until he apologizes.

As for Ellen, who is famously gay and bravely came out on her sitcom 20 years ago: how did she become the arbiter in this situation? Did Hart ask her to? Did The Academy? The Oscars have no host just seven weeks out. Is this an act of desperation?

Just our little Twitter poll is running decidedly against Hart. And meantime, this is not the kind of publicity that was needed for “The Upside.” There’s no upside here.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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