NEW YORK • American comedian Kevin Hart, who has long said that he would like to host the Academy Awards, will serve as emcee for the 91st Oscars ceremony on Feb 24 next year.
"I am so happy to say the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars," he announced on Instagram on Tuesday. "I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time."
"Welcome to the family," the Academy tweeted.
Hart, a 39-year-old comedy celebrity, recently starred in two box-office smashes, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017) and Night School (2018), and is in the midst of an international stand-up tour.
Now, he will add hosting the Oscars to his plate, always a difficult task, but especially so at a time when the ceremony has struggled with poor ratings and political controversy.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences faced a forceful backlash after black actors and films that focused on black characters were overlooked in 2015 and 2016, sparking the #OscarsSoWhite outcry and efforts to make the academy more inclusive.
Hart will become one of just a handful of African-American hosts in the show's 91-year history. Previous black hosts included Chris Rock and Whoopi Goldberg.