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Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler opened the Oscar ceremony by roasting its chaotic year

There’s no host, for starters.

Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler riffed on the rocky road to the Oscars before presenting the award for Best Supporting Actress.
Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

So yes — technically, the 2019 Oscars have no host. But after Queen and Adam Lambert opened the show, a trio of America’s favorite comedians showed up onstage to crack a few jokes about the show’s hostless state.

Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler came out to present the first award of the night, for Best Supporting Actress (the honor went to Regina King, for If Beale Street Could Talk), but they started with a series of quips about the host-free ceremony.

“So just a quick update, in case you’re confused: There is no host tonight,” Rudolph said. “There won’t be a popular movie category. And Mexico is not paying for the wall.”

“And we won’t be doing awards during the commercials, but we will be presenting commercials during the awards,” Poehler continued. “So if all the winners could please say, ‘Hellman’s Mayonnaise: We’re on the side of food,’ instead of speeches, that would be great.”

The crowd inside the Dolby Theatre chuckled knowingly. The lead-up to this year’s ceremony has been unusually chaotic — from the Academy’s sudden announcement (and then retraction) of a category for popular film in August to the Kevin Hart hosting debacle in December to a series of plans meant to shorten the broadcast, including handing out some of the awards during commercial breaks, which led to a near-revolt from the Academy’s membership in the past few weeks.

But beginning with a brief Queen performance followed by the trio of comedians made for a quick start to the show, in a move that seemed calculated to set viewers’ fears at rest (as well as to stave off viewers’ disinterest). It’s the first host-free Oscars since 1989, but if it starts off smoothly, maybe the night will go okay after all.

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