Action-film star Dwayne Johnson says he, not comedian Kevin Hart, was the first choice to host this year's Academy Awards — but he turned down the offer due to work commitments.
"Ah mahalo dude," Johnson, 46, using the Hawaiian word for "thank you," tweeted in response to a blogger who had tweeted, "If the Academy is so inclined to line up a great host for next year's Oscars, just pick @TheRock," Johnson's former ring name as a pro wrestler. "I was their first choice to host this year," Johnson went on, "and my goal was to make it the most fun and entertaining Oscars ever. We all tried hard, but couldn't make it work since I'm shooting Jumanji. Academy and I were super bummed but maybe one day down the road."
Johnson is at work on the untitled sequel to 2017's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," about a group of teens who find themselves transported into the world of a video game, taking on the personae of the game's characters. He coincidentally stars alongside Hart, as well as Jack Black, and Karen Gillan.
A representative for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences did not respond to Newsday's request for comment
Hart, 49, stepped down from hosting the Oscars in January following controversy over homophobic tweets and jokes he has made. Despite a subsequent endorsement from talk-show host and gay-rights advocate Ellen DeGeneres, Hart, who apologized for his comments, declined to reconsider.
The Academy Awards, set to air Feb. 24 on ABC, will have no host this year.