A more subdued affair than other awards shows, the Oscars hosts often make more headlines than the recipients. It’s certainly no Ricky Gervais at the Globe’s affair, that’s for sure. Group selfies, savage jokes and one too many musical numbers mean the, usually hilarious person, tasked with hosting gets a bad rap. But for Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg, their countless times hosting grant them a certain hall pass, where because of their frequency they’re regarded as the best.
But forgotten is how many times the comedians behind the mic have turned down the opportunity, for fear of having the laughter turned on themselves. With Jimmy Kimmel fronting the 2017 ceremony, revisit those who snuck under the radar while taking their turn hosting the Academy Awards.
#1 Jon Stewart
Cameos a plenty and even a dream sequence, Stewart was labelled too offensive at the time but upon reviewing it’s pure hilarity. Taking a great many swipes at those nominated and Hollywood in general, Stewart holds no bars. There’s a Jolie joke, a Democrat gag and probably too many jabs at Clooney. But remember this was the year Brokeback Mountain was nominated, so the jokes came easy to the funnyman really.
#2 Steve Martin
One time SNL jokester and all time geeky favourite, Steve Martin is an Oscars host that deserves a standing ovation. And perhaps a little gold statue for himself. In 2003 he took the stage with much fanfare, his jokes obscure and his targets unsuspecting. He joked about licking all the Oscars, heckles Vin Diesel, Nicole Kidman’s fake nose situation and Lord of The Rings in it’s entirety. He’s loveable, warm and genuinely giggle inducing.
#3 Alec Baldwin
Partnering with the aforementioned Martin, Baldwin’s hosting duties were widely panned but we beg to differ. With his star on the rise now, his tone is just the right amount of irreverent. Perhaps it’s because he’s standing next to the funniest Steve we know that he was marked down, but that’s hardly fair. Meryl cops it, an Invictus cast roasting and a savagery of Tarantino that he himself could to have better choreographed. A joker who flew under the radar but is talented nonetheless.
#4 Hugh Jackman
A showman like no other, Hugh Jackman flew the Aussie flag in 2009. Instead of taking on the guests, Hugh roasted himself and his lack of nomination first up. Just in case you couldn’t love him more. He even crafted a DIY set for his opening number, to the tune of the nominated films. From Slumdog Millionaire, to Benjamin Button, his opener was brilliant. He laughs at himself like no other and manages to avoid roasting his fellow actors in the process. Charisma in spades.
#5 Chris Rock
He never shies away from controversy and with a whiter Oscars than ever before, 2016 saw Chris Rock stand up with wonderful eloquence. Using his place on the stage to draw attention to the inequality, with no black nominees across all categories. He roasts Kevin Hart, police brutality, Hollywood’s inherent racism and the Rocky films, nothing too taboo. But serious question, why is Kevin Hart at the Oscars?
Image source: IndieWire, Stumped Magazine.