Jan 15
2019

The biggest drama in Hollywood right now is who the heck’s going to host next month’s Academy Awards ceremony, and the mystery has made it all the way into Helen Mirren’s social circle. “I was talking to one of the (Oscar show’s) writers and he said, ‘Do you want to host?’ ” Mirren tells USA TODAY, followed by the kind of laugh that clearly states “Not it.” The host search has been, shall we say, tumultuous. Comedian Kevin Hart was first picked for the gig, and then quit due to some old homophobic tweets, and then looked like he might say yes again but instead reaffirmed his no. Now it looks like there won’t be an Oscar host for the first time since 1989, which Mirren says would be “interesting.” (Hopefully it won’t be as “interesting” as that infamous 1989 Oscars dance number.) The 2007 best actress Oscar winner (for “The Queen”) doesn’t know if a no-host Academy Awards is a good thing or a bad thing. “It’s a thing,” Mirren says simply. “The reason I kind of like the host is you can send it all up a bit. It means you’re not taking yourself too terribly seriously.” Winning an Oscar is a fantastic and great moment, but one that could use some perspective at the same time, adds Mirren, who stars in the upcoming HBO miniseries “Catherine the Great” (slated for later in 2019) and the big-screen thriller “The Good Liar” (in theaters Nov. 15). “Everyone knows that it’s not like the shutdown of the government – it’s not that important, if you know what I mean. And I think that the existence of the host, it’s always a comedic role, it’s there to make fun of everybody, and that’s not such a bad thing.”