US comedian Kevin Hart to host Oscars

Kevin Hart introduces a performance by The Weeknd, who was nominated for Best Original Song for "Earned It" at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood.
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US comedian and actor Kevin Hart announced on Tuesday that he would be hosting the 91st Academy Awards in February.

“For years I have been asked if I would ever Host the Oscars and my answer was always the same…,” Hart wrote in an Instagram post. “I said that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me as a comedian and that it will happen when it’s supposed to.

“I am so happy to say that the day has finally come for me to host the Oscars.”

The “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” star will be hosting the glitzy event after talk show host Jimmy Kimmel held the gig for two consecutive years.

Hart will be facing pressure to boost audience ratings for the annual show that will be held on February 24 in Hollywood and which had an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers last year, compared to 43 million in 2014.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has said that it was introducing a number of changes to improve viewership, including shortening the show to three hours and handing out some of the awards during commercial breaks.