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Can Spider-Man’s Tom Holland Save the Oscars?

Hollywood was abuzz Tuesday night with the rumor that the Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts Sciences had approached the star of box office blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home Tom Holland to host the 2022 Academy Awards.

The buzz began with The Hollywood Reporter’s announcement that the 2022 Academy Awards would have a host. The legendary award show has gone without a host since 2018 when planned 2019 host Kevin Hart’s old homophobic tweets and jokes resurfaced and they controversially decided to go host-less.

The Cut: The Academy has actually already reached out to their first choice: Tom Holland. It’s going to be a Spidey Oscars, baby! Or, it could be. Holland apparently expressed interest in the gig in an interview with THR in December, though his comments on hosting in 2022 weren’t super encouraging — at first. “Maybe in the future, but in all honesty, I’m just too busy right now,” he said initially, adding, “I love that kind of thing. I love being put under pressure and doing things that I feel uncomfortable doing.” In true Holland fashion, the actor reportedly called back a minute later to change his answer. “You’re asking me about the Oscars — you’re the first person to bring that up — and I’m sitting here going, ‘Of course I would host the fucking Oscars!’” He even said, “If they asked me to, I would.” Gotta love that Tom Holland chaotic enthusiasm.

Glenn Weiss, who has directed the show for the past six years, will return to direct the Oscars telecast scheduled to air on ABC March 27, 2022.

The decision to offer the gig to Holland could mark a historic shift for the awards which has struggled to staunch the slow bleed of viewers year after year. No Way Home, whose worldwide ticket sales surpassed  $1.53B through its  fourth weekend is now the No. 8 movie on the all-time global chart.

Projected total box-office of No Way Home is on schedule to surpass Titanic and become the new number one biggest movie in history. It will be the first time in recent history that the star of the most popular movie helmed the awards show to attract the largest audience in its history.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is already being pushed by Disney to be nominated for Best Picture. Last month THR reported: “It looks like an obvious contender for a best picture Oscar nomination — if, that is, you can get past its genre. (To date, only one comic book-inspired superhero movie has ever been nominated for best picture — not 2008’s The Dark Knight, not 2008’s Iron Man and not 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, but just 2018’s Black Panther.) But at a time when movie theaters and the Oscars telecast are hanging on by a thread, should that really matter? I would argue not, as did four key players behind the film — each of whom is an Academy member and has experience with the Oscar game — during conversations we had this week.”

Marvel Studios’ head  Kevin Feige, who worked on the first Spider-Man movie as a low-level executive and on the last three as the president of Marvel Studios, which also released Black Panther, “I think both of these types of films deserve recognition.” He hopes that Academy members will “think about the artistry that goes into storytelling that connects with a wide range of people on a very emotional level,” emphasizing, “It’s a good thing when people are in a theater and they stand up and cheer. It’s a good thing when people are wiping tears because they’re thinking back on their last 20 years of moviegoing and what it has meant to them. That, to me, is a very good thing — the sort of thing the Academy was founded, back in the day, to recognize.”

That same story raised the idea of Holland hosting.: “Industry insiders have encouraged the Academy to beg and plead for Holland — perhaps with his No Way Home co-star Zendaya and/or his Spider-Man predecessors Maguire and Garfield.”

Would he prefer hosting solo or with someone else? “Either/or. I don’t mind. By myself would be great, and with someone I love would be even better. I think a shared experience is always better than a solo experience. I’m happy with either, but it would be a very fun evening — I’m sure very stressful, but it would be a lot of fun.” I couldn’t resist one last follow-up: Does he think he could convince Zendaya to do it with him? “I could run it by her. But as for her answer, I’m not too sure.

No Way Home’s success has also elevated Holland as the new hero of Hollywood with many industry insiders thrilled with the possibility. It  would be game a changer. Last week while promoting his new movie Uncharted, Holland challenged Tom Cruise on his claim that  Mission Impossible 7 was Hollywood’s pandemic savior.

At Total Film, the 25-year-old was caught praising the team behind his latest blockbuster, which also features Mark Wahlberg in the role of Victor Sullivan and Antonio Banderas as Moncada.

“I really believe in the project. I believe in the work we’ve done. I’m very proud of how hard everyone worked,” he began. “We also made this film at the height of COVID. I know Tom Cruise loves to say that he brought the film industry back, but he forgot about this little film called Uncharted that was shooting four months before he was.

“So, I’m just very proud of what we’ve done. And if we were lucky enough to do it again, it would be really exciting. We’ve only scratched the surface of what Drake and Sully can do.”

Uncharted has been the first time that Holland, who’d previously confessed that he was too conscious about appearing “cool” as Uncharted‘s young treasure hunter, to begin more concerned with his image. Where previously, Holland has suggested that being concerned  with his image. “As soon as you start worrying about ‘Do I look good in this shot?’ acting becomes something other than playing a character,” he said.

Holland continued“I think there are elements of my performance in Uncharted where I kind of fell under that spell of being ‘I want to look good now. I want this to be my cool moment.’ I had to play this very tough, very stoic guy – basically be Mark Wahlberg. My character is supposed to be a f**king action hero in this moment!”

Uncharted opens February 18, 2022Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters now.

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