Even though Kevin Hart was originally set to host this year's Oscars, it turns out Dwayne Johnson was actually the Academy's "first choice." After a Twitter fan suggested that the 46-year-old actor would be "a great host," Johnson replied with the revelation on Wednesday. "I was their first choice to host this year, and my goal was to make it the most fun and entertaining Oscars ever," he explained. "We all tried hard, but couldn't make it work since I'm shooting Jumanji."
Ah mahalo dude, I was their first choice to host this year, and my goal was to make it the most fun and entertaining Oscars ever. We all tried hard, but couldn’t make it work since I’m shooting Jumanji. Academy and I were super bummed but maybe one day down the road 🥃 https://t.co/eiiMuBNOzb— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) February 6, 2019
While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter at the Sundance Film Festival, Johnson said he met multiple times with producers Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss. "I was so excited to get that call, and I didn't anticipate it," Johnson revealed. "We didn't campaign for it, but it came and I was over the moon and one of those calls where I said, I'm going to have to call you back. I just paused in my silence and was like, wow thank you so much, and then immediately my brain started going, we'll do this kind of number and that . . . it pained me not to be able to host because of the schedule. I live in a world of possibility, but was the immediacy of rolling into Jumanji that put a vice grip on things."
"For me the goal was, when at that time we were talking about, okay, I think we can make this happen, was I wanted to try and create with the best team around me and we had ... A lot of people, as you know were galvanizing," Johnson continued. "We were going to turn the Oscars on their head this year and make it something special and unique and different, and start a new era of how Oscars are going to be enjoyed. That was the goal, audience first. I wanted to try and create a scenario where, at the end of the night, my friends who won, my friends who didn't win, all had, despite not winning, had the greatest time. That was the goal. So, one day."
Johnson and Hart have developed quite the bromance over the years, and even though he hasn't publicly addressed Hart's controversy, it's worth noting that Hart is also starring in the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Sequel, which began filming earlier this week. Perhaps Hart just had an opening in his shooting schedule?
Regardless, the Academy Awards will be moving forward without a host on Feb. 24 after Hart stepped down. Following the announcement that Hart was confirmed to host, several of his controversial tweets — which included antigay slurs and homophobic insults — resurfaced online. The Academy asked him to either apologize or step down, and Hart chose the latter. This is the first time in almost 30 years that the ceremony has gone hostless (the ceremony didn't have a host from 1969 to 1971 and in 1989), but we would have loved to have Johnson host. Maybe next year?