Meet the Student Who Is Petitioning to Host the Oscars

Jacob Staudenmaier_Host - Screengrab - H 2019

Though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed that there will be no host for the 2019 Oscars early this month, 19-year-old Jacob Staudenmaier still figures there is time to put his hat in the ring.

In a tongue-in-cheek video titled “Let Jacob Host the Oscars 2019," posted below, the Loyola Marymount University student walks through Los Angeles with a sign reading “@ACADEMY: LET ME HOST THE OSCARS." In the clip, he makes the case for why he’s the man for the job and he's hoping others agree with him. As part of the plea, Staudenmaier has launched a petition, which, at press time, had 180 of a requested 200 signatures.

“The 2019 Oscars are in chaos. I have come to save the day. Jimmy Kimmel was the host for the past 2 years, so it's only right that I host it this year. And I'll do a better job too," reads the plea. 

The Kimmel callout is key to Staudenmaier, who feels he has a bit of a score to settle with the late night host. In 2017, Staudenmaier went viral with an extravagant, La La Land-themed video asking Emma Stone to his high school prom (she politely declined). The video gained more than 1.4 million views and earned him appearances on Good Morning America as well as some ribbing from Kimmel during his late night monologue.

“In no real way do I have anything against Jimmy Kimmel,” Staudenmaier tells The Hollywood Reporter with a laugh. “I always thought that was kind of a funny thing, that he kind of called me out on national TV.... I guess it was just kind of me trying to shoot back at him in some way.”

Though the aspiring filmmaker says that though his run for the Hollywood's biggest stage is mostly a joke, he does have some real bones to pick with the Academy. “They've kind of lost touch with what the Oscars are really supposed to be about,” he says. “Bringing fun back into the show is really what it needs, it's sort of stiff as of late."

Criticism aside, Staudenmaier may never find his name on the Academy's potential host list, but he already has something to brag about. Alex Honnold, the professional rock climber who stars in the Oscar-nominated documentary Free Solo, appears in his campaign video and even holds Staudenmaier’s sign outside TCL Chinese Theatre. In the video, Honnold asks if Staudenmaier actually thinks he’ll host. “Honestly, no,” says Staudenmaier.

“I was kind of shocked when he like looked over at my sign and started laughing,” Staudenmaier says. “If that's the only thing that comes out of this that's totally fine by me.”