LOS ANGELES -- Stepping into what is often considered one of the most difficult -- and at times thankless -- gigs in Hollywood, Kevin Hart is set to host the 91st annual Academy Awards.
The stand-up comedian and actor made the announcement himself on Instagram on Tuesday, promising, "I will be sure to make this years Oscars a special one.
"For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same," Hart wrote. "I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it's suppose to."
In tapping Hart, who has starred in box office hits such as "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Central Intelligence" and who boasts a massive social media following and large base of young fans, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is hoping to stem a steady decline in ratings for the telecast. In each of the past two years, under host Jimmy Kimmel, the ratings dipped, with March's show reaching a record-low audience of 26.5 million viewers.
Facing perennial criticism over what many have decried as the sometimes tedious length of the Oscars, the academy has vowed that this year's show, which is being produced by Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss, will not run over three hours. To trim the proceedings down, some awards will be given out during commercial breaks rather than live on air.
In an ultimately fizzled gambit to bring in a wider audience for the all-important telecast, the academy earlier this year announced the creation of a new award recognizing "outstanding achievement in popular film." But after weeks of blowback, the academy's board of governors reversed itself and decided to shelve the idea, at least for the time being.
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Hart has previously served as emcee of the MTV Movie Awards along with his "Central Intelligence" co-star Dwayne Johnson.
The Oscars will air on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 24.
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