Nick Cannon says Kevin Hart's Oscars controversy ''hit him pretty hard''.

The 39-year-old actor and comedian stepped down from hosting the upcoming award show after historic homophobic tweets he had made were resurfaced, and his friend Nick - who defended Kevin at the time of his decision to quit the gig - has now said it was upsetting to see how much Kevin's mood shifted during the controversy.

Nick, 38, said: ''To see a friend reach a moment like that, to be able to share it with him and then two days later the entire energy is shifted, it hit him pretty hard. I know how important that opportunity was for him, how excited he was. He was already telling me his set and jokes and going over what he was going to do.''

Kevin recently appeared on 'The Ellen Degeneres Show' where openly gay show host Ellen voiced her support for the comedian and said the Academy should allow him to host the Oscars, and Nick couldn't be happier to have her backing the 'Night School' star.

He added: ''That's dope. I love Ellen and she definitely is one of the bosses in the game. When one of the bosses calls for you, that's always a good look. She's an entertainment guru that's been doing it for a long time that we all respect.''

During his appearance on her show, Kevin told Ellen he was reconsidering taking the hosting job, and Nick says he'd love to see him in the prestigious role, even though he doesn't think Kevin ''needs'' to do it.

Speaking to People magazine, he said: ''If he does do it, in my opinion, it'd be solely just because he wanted to. But he definitely doesn't need to. I know he doesn't need to, and that's one of the reasons I commended the stance he took. He sincerely apologised, but it wasn't to keep a job. You never want to hurt anyone's feelings, but you're not going to be forced or told to do something just for occupation or for money.''