Kevin Hart Didn't Change His Mind About Hosting The Oscars After All [Updated]

UPDATE #2: Well, all that back and forth was for nothing. Deadline reports Kevin Hart has decided not to host the Oscars after reevaluating his decision following some prodding from Ellen DeGeneres. Hart was not only concerned about having less time to prepare, but he didn't want to be a distraction from everything else on the big night either. Instead, the Academy will have some of the biggest names in Hollywood presenting awards. Our original story from January 4 follows below.UPDATE: Variety now reports that "key parties involved in the annual Oscars telecast are open to the return of Kevin Hart as host" if he wants the job. Our original article from this morning follows.

People have noticed that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have yet to choose a 2019 Oscars host following the exit of their first choice, Kevin Hart. But, according to Ellen DeGeneres, that's because they're waiting for him to return.

Hart stepped down from the Oscars hosting gig following outcry over anti-LGBT tweets that were resurfaced following his announcement as host. But following an interview with The Ellen Show host, Hart is apparently reconsidering.

During a lengthy interview on her syndicated talk show, DeGeneres, herself a two-time Oscar host, encouraged Hart to take back the hosting gig. She revealed on the show that she had called The Academy earlier that day to ask whether they would consider reinstating him as host, and apparently received a positive reaction:

"I called them (the Academy). I said, 'Kevin's on, I have no idea if he wants to come back and host, but what are your thoughts?' And they were like, 'Oh my God, we want him to host. We feel like that maybe he misunderstood or it was handled wrong or maybe we said the wrong thing but we want him to host. Whatever we can do we would be thrilled. And he should host the Oscars.'"

Emboldened by DeGeneres' support, Hart said that he would reconsider the hosting gig, which he exited a day after the Academy announced him as host, following the criticism that he received over his history of anti-LGBTQ comments and past allegations of domestic abuse:

"Leaving here, I promise you I'm evaluating this conversation. Let me assess, just sit in the space and really think, and you and I will talk before anything else."

Hart doubled down on the apology he released after he stepped down as host, before launching into a criticism of the people who had surfaced his old offensive tweets. "This wasn't an accident. This wasn't a coincidence. It wasn't a coincidence that the day after I received the job, tweets somehow manifested from 2008," Hart said. "That's an attack, that's a malicious attack on my character, that's an attack to end me, that's not an attack to just stop the Oscars."

However, it should be noted that Hart's insistence that the tweets' fast appearance were likely not a result of "malicious" attack — Twitter has a search function that makes it easy to find tweets with certain key words or subjects. Twitter users didn't have to comb through "40,000 tweets" worth of content to find Hart's homophobic jokes as Hart insists.

DeGeneres acknowledged that "as a gay person" she had been "sensitive" to Hart's homophobic jokes, but argued that he had "already expressed that it's not being educated on the subject, not realizing how dangerous those words are, not realizing how many kids are killed for being gay or beaten up every day," she said. "You have grown, you have apologized, you are apologizing again right now. You've done it." She proceeded to call Hart's critics "haters" who will "win" if he doesn't host the Oscars.

Watch the clip of the interview here:

However, many saw this interview as a belated apology tour from Hart, and a disingenuous one at that. Critics argued that they weren't simply "trolls" out to get Hart but simply wanted him to acknowledge his past offensive language and have a discussion over it — rather than play victim. This Twitter thread from Buzzfeed reporter Adam B. Vary eloquently sums up the controversy:

Will the Academy hire Hart back for the job? That's yet to be seen, though it is odd that they have not yet announced a new host. Meanwhile the Oscar nominations will be announced on January 22, 2019. The televised ceremony will follow on February 24, 2019.