Kevin Hart: Why not have me host the Oscars?

Kevin Hart, here at the 87th Academy Awards, is ready to host the 2016 edition. "If I can start the campaign now and get them into it, I'm all for it," Hart told Movies Now.
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

Many performers say they’d want nothing to do with an Oscar hosting gig. The egos, the pressure, the criticism -- none of those factors are conducive to an enjoyable ride or a particularly helpful career boost. Even if you’ve crushed it at other award shows, that’s no reason to think you can master this one, as Neil Patrick Harris learned last month.

But ask Kevin Hart how he feels about the Oscars, and he has a straightforward reply: Put me in, coach.

“If I can start the campaign now and get them into it, I’m all for it,” Hart told Movies Now. “I would just jump at the opportunity.”


Hart’s name has been floated by pundits and fans as a viable contender in the ongoing discussion in which our favorite Oscar host is the one who’s never had the job. And while most of the people clamoring to be host have very little say in the actual decision, they can get a name into the ether and eventually into producers’ consciousness, as happened with Harris in the years before he was hired.

But doesn’t Hart worry about dinging his image with a seemingly impossible job? After all, the host gig requires being funny but not sharp, playing both to a room filled with losers and millions at home snarking on Twitter, standing out but not showing up the stars in the room.

“I’m always about raising the bar for myself and finding ways to accomplish things that nobody thought I could accomplish,” Hart replied when asked about the obstacles. “And this is one of those things. It doesn’t scare me at all. At the end of the day, you just gotta be yourself in these moments and make it your own.”

Hart would be appealing for his comedic chops and energy. And the diversity factor is something that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been embracing of late.

A strong following doesn’t hurt either. Oscar producers would be getting a bankable star in Hart. The comedian opens another in a string of comedies when “Get Hard” debuts Friday, an odd-couple comedy in which he wings a gig training Will Ferrell for prison. Hart has been on a strong run lately: His recent releases, such as “The Wedding Ringer,” have been solid mid-level performers, and “Ride Along” was a monster hit a year ago.

He has also been packing in arenas for his latest comedy tour, which is going on now and set to make stops in large-scale venues such as Madison Square Garden. The name of the tour is an allusion to Hart’s career: “What Now?” Hart’s clearly hoping the Dolby Theatre is on the list.


Twitter: @ZeitchikLAT