Lil Rel Howrey was the MVP of the 2021 Oscars experience on ABC. Howrey co-hosted the 90-minute “Into the Spotlight” pre-show from 6:30-8pmET with enthusiasm, genuine interest and humor. He and his “Judas and the Black Messiah” co-star Daniel Kaluuya chatted about making the movie, and Howrey also had memorable moments with “Nomadland” director Chloe Zhao and pre-show co-host Ariana DeBose.
Then… two hours and 45 minutes into the actual Oscars telecast, Howrey finally brought some energy and positivity to an otherwise dull and depressing ceremony (which felt like a funeral; I almost fell asleep). Howrey came-out to play a game! Questlove would play a song and someone would have to name the song and then guess if it was Oscar nominated, an Oscar winner or neither.
Andra Day was up first. The “United States vs. Billie Holiday” nominee clearly thought this was a “during the commercial break” game and not actually part of the telecast. As Howrey remarked after Day swore, “I don’t know much that’s gonna cost y’all, ABC. But it happened. We’re in a train station. You don’t know what you’re gonna hear.”
Then Howrey went over to Kaluuya for the next song. And for the third and final song, Howrey chose Kaluuya’s table mate, Glenn Close. About an hour after losing the Oscar for the 8th time (tying an acting record with the late Peter O’Toole), Close was still in great spirits as she identified “Da Butt” and then DID Da Butt.
It was, without a doubt, the funniest and most entertaining moment of the night and the most positive thing (aside from Tyler Perry’s speech) that everyone will remember from the 2021 Oscars.
Howrey then appeared on ABC’s “Oscars: After Dark” special with co-hosts Colmon Domingo and Andrew Rannells to talk about the evening. Throughout the night, Howrey handled Live TV with ease.
He’s also establishing himself as one of Hollywood’s busiest and most prominent actors. Over the past year, he has appeared in “Clouds” (a solid dramatic performance), “Judas”, the animated “Tom & Jerry” (as the fun Angel & Devil for Tom) and the hilarious “Bad Trip” alongside Eric Andre. Roles in “Fatherhood”, “Free Guy” and “Deep Water” will be seen by audiences soon.
There’s already buzz online that Howrey should host the Oscars next year… IF The Academy wants to bring back a host. I’m all for it!