Oscars to go ‘host-less’ after Kevin Hart controversy

Kevin Hart starred in blockbuster sequel of the adventure film “Jumanji.” (File/AFP)
Updated 11 January 2019
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Oscars to go ‘host-less’ after Kevin Hart controversy

  • Kevin Hart dropped out as host amid controversies on his past homophobic remarks
  • The awards night will be held on Feb. 24, with the list of nominees to be released on Jan. 22

DUBAI: For the first time since 1989, the much-anticipated Oscars will have no host this year, after Kevin Hart pulled out of the gig three days after being announced the American actor-comedian would be emcee at the awards night.

After weeks of speculation from critics and fans, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will go ahead with the ceremony on February 24 without a replacement for Hart, insiders told entertainment magazine Variety.  

Hart dropped out as awards host after the Academy asked him to apologize for his past homophobic remarks that resurfaced online.

The “Jumanji” star, who was seen to help boost the Oscars’ viewership by hosting the event, refused to apologize, saying “there's no more conversation about it ... I'm over that, I'm over the moment,” in an interview with American TV network ABC.

According to reports, producers of the awards show will delegate the role of emcee to a selected group of celebrity A-listers who will introduce various segments.

Cast members of the Marvel superhero movie “Avengers” are among the celebrities the producers are eyeing for, according to US-based entertainment website The Hollywood Reporter.

Oscar nominations will be released on Jan. 22, a month ahead of one of the biggest nights in the film industry.


Tunnel through an Australian mountain? No problem, says Elon Musk

Updated 17 January 2019
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Tunnel through an Australian mountain? No problem, says Elon Musk

  • The entrepreneur behind electric carmaker Tesla has most recently turned his sights on tackling city traffic via low-cost tunnels
  • Musk in 2017 made a Twitter pitch to build what was the world’s biggest battery in an Australian state to solve its severe energy crisis

SYDNEY: Australia could become a test ground for another of Elon Musk’s massive infrastructure projects after the maverick billionaire tweeted a “bargain” price to build a tunnel through a mountain to solve Sydney’s traffic woes.
Musk in 2017 made a Twitter pitch — and followed through with the offer — to build what was the world’s biggest battery in an Australian state to solve its severe energy crisis.
The entrepreneur behind electric carmaker Tesla has most recently turned his sights on tackling city traffic via low-cost tunnels created by his Boring Company, and in December unveiled a sample project near Los Angeles.
So when an Australian politician tweeted at Musk on Wednesday about the costs of drilling through a mountain range north of Sydney, he responded quickly.
“I’m a lawmaker in Sydney, which is choking with traffic. How much to build a 50km tunnel through the Blue Mountains and open up the west of our State?,” asked New South Wales state MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“About $15M/km for a two way high speed transit, so probably around $750M plus maybe $50M/station,” Musk replied late Wednesday, with his response liked more than 22,000 times on Twitter.
He has more than 24 million followers on the social media platform.
Another billionaire, Mike Cannon-Brookes, who founded Australian software startup Atlassian, weighed in on the exchange, saying the estimated price tag “sounds like a bargain for Sydney.”
The population of the Sydney region has grown by around 25 percent since 2011 to reach 5.4 million, out of a national population of 25 million, and road congestion is a major concern.
There was no indication the exchange of tunnel tweets would lead to any quick action, but it could bring some needed positive publicity for Musk.
Musk has risen to prominence with a series of ambitious ventures, particularly Tesla, but has also drawn plenty of criticism for some volatile behavior.
He waged a public battle with a rescuer who helped save a group of boys trapped in a cave in Thailand last year, calling him a “pedo guy” after the Brit slammed his idea of building a mini-submarine to save the children as a public relations stunt.
Meanwhile, riders who have tested out Boring’s prototype tunnel — where cars are lowered by lifts then slotted into tracks and propelled along at high speeds — have complained of a bumpy journey.