The Oscars went without a host for the second year in a row this Sunday, continuing a tradition started after Kevin Hart lost the role in late 2018 over a handful of old tweets deemed insensitive by LGBT advocates.
Without a traditional host, the Academy brought Steve Martin and Chris Rock in to deliver an opening monologue. The pair snuck in a joke that functioned as something of an indictment of the Academy’s treatment of Hart.
“They don’t really have hosts anymore. Why is that?” Martin asked.
“Twitter!” replied Rock. “Everybody’s got an embarrassing tweet somewhere. I know I do.”
It was brief, but the quip was a welcome rejection of so-called cancel culture in an important venue.
Hart made homosexuality-related jokes over a decade ago, but there is no statue of limitations for being insufficiently woke. When the controversy unfolded in late 2018, Hart had the perfect response to his critics.
“I’m almost 40 years old,” he said on Instagram. “If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify or explain their past, then do you. I’m the wrong guy, man.”