Seth MacFarlane, were you ever the right choice for the Oscars?
He said himself in an interview after his host announcement that he was not the right choice for this kind of show, and while many would say they agree, I know a few people – including myself – that would say otherwise. While I didn’t absolutely love him as a host, I thought he did a very acceptable job and channeled Hugh Jackman with his musical moments, which I thought were effective, entertaining, and really, really good. The guy has a voice, there’s no doubt about that, but his frat boy humor can be grating, especially when you think of the obscure pop culture references as jokes that got left underneath the table in the Family Guy writers’ room. He did a serviceable job and is far from the worst host ever, but should he really be asked back for round 2?
My thoughts are that he will be passed up next year, but even if he is asked, MacFarlane has taken himself out of the running. When asked about whether he will return for the 2014 Oscars, MacFarlane simply replied, “No way.” He expressed the fun that he had hosting the ceremony and how glad he is that he got the chance to be an Oscar host but he doesn’t want it to be an annual gig; it’s just not for him. As a result of MacFarlane’s passing, it seems like the prime time to discuss who should, and could, be in the running for the 2014 host. I’ve compiled a list of ten people that I think should be given the opportunity. Which do you agree with and do you have any choices of your own? Read through our selections and provide your recommendations in the comments section below.
Neil Patrick Harris
This won’t be the first person on the list who I compare to Hugh Jackman, who I will continue to say is the finest Oscar host of the past 10 years (since Billy Crystal did it in 2003). Neil Patrick Harris has proved himself as a comic thespian as well as a charismatic performer with a wonderfully musical and stage-ready presence. After taking over Tony-hosting duties from former Tony and Oscar host Jackman, NPH has wowed the Broadway audiences year in and year out with no apparent plan of giving up the gig. With that annual duty and How I Met Your Mother deciding to never end, it may be awhile before we see Harris on the Oscar stage, but producers should keep him high on the list. Harris would oversee a refreshing, fun, and wildly entertaining Oscar night.
They’ve let David Letterman and Jon Stewart take on Oscar duties, with the latter doing a far better job than the former while still not remaining entirely memorable (other than the ingenious, “For you guys counting at home: Three 6 Mafia, 1; Martin Scorsese, 0”). The producers had the right idea, however, since talk show hosts should be expected to carry a live show without a problem, but I don’t think either of them were prepared for the size of the Oscars, nor the crowd that is Hollywood. While Conan O’Brien is also a nice option, I think the Academy would find a lot to love about Mr. Colbert, who wears an always-engaging comedic exterior when hosting The Colbert Report. While politics may seep into the opening monologue, I think he would prove to be the most tasteful of the talk show comics who have hosted and the most consistently funny. Also, being known for projects that are very far removed from the Hollywood sphere, but still something very positively regarded, gives him a respectable and likable advantage that recent host MacFarlane did not have.
I’m not alone in saying that I absolutely love Jennifer Lawrence, but this isn’t just love talking, JLawr is an authentic and, in my opinion, very good choice for Oscar host. Not only is she endearing and wholly likable on screen and in real life, but she has quickly earned her stripes, and after a victory this past Sunday, Hollywood sees her as one of their own and not just the spearhead of a lucrative franchise adaptation (The Hunger Games). With a career that’s bound for legendary glory and a luminous personality in real life, Jennifer Lawrence would be a natural host with the potential to nicely riff on her contemporaries in the audience. I foresee some nerves breaking through in the early minutes of the show – which will make her cuter and better, in usual JLawr fashion – but once she hits her stride, Jennifer Lawrence could prove to be one of the best Oscar hosts ever. Need more evidence of how bright she is at all times? Watch her Oscar acceptance speech and her post-show interview. The girl has got comedy and energy running through her at all times and under all kinds of circumstances. Plus, she’d be the youngest Oscar host to date, easily outdoing the hosting pair that used to hold that title (James Franco & Anne Hathaway).
Robert Downey Jr.
RDJ is the best presenter at every single awards ceremony. At all times, the actor is upbeat and constantly mining successful laughs out of his peers. Bottom line, he’s always having the most fun at whatever event he decides to appear at or take part in. The guy has had a career full of ups and downs, but he’s an A-list’er with a phenomenal personality and an aura of self-regard that borders on extreme vanity. No one has ever complained about his attitude, especially seeing how he is now in comparison to how he used to be, and he’s always wearing a bright smile on his face. If Hollywood were going to shepherd one of their very own to the hosting position on Oscar night, Robert Downey Jr. should be a top candidate. Making an Iron Man entrance of some kind would also make him memorable for the rest of Oscar history.
Tina Fey & Amy Poehler
This one’s easy. Did you see the Golden Globes? The next stop, by right, should be the Oscar stage.
An up-and-coming actor, McHale has a Robert Downey Jr.-ness about him while also staying immensely likable. On the fan-favorite Community, he is charming without ever being an outright asshole, and he’s got a pitch perfect delivery that allows him to comfortably tip toe around the circumference of douche territory. The guy has a short filmography, but he’s sure to have a career ahead of him and I think McHale would make a surprisingly great Oscar host. Out of anyone on this list, he probably would have the longest to wait before being asked, but depending on what he does immediately after Community’s foreseeable finish, he could be donning a Tuxedo and presenting a witty opening monologue on the Oscar stage before we even realize it.
Trey Parker & Matt Stone
After the lukewarm reception to Seth MacFarlane, Oscar producers may be wary about handing over the duties to the creators of South Park, but where MacFarlane failed, this duo would flourish, and where MacFarlane did flourish, Parker and Stone would be even better. The topical, talented, and highly musical duo has an individualized sense of humor nicely balancing political satire with animated slapstick and gross out crudity. They’re tasteful and downright hilarious, plus they’ve got talent to spare having successfully put things on the small screen, big screen, and Broadway stage. With this duo, you can be sure of a musical opening, but you can expect one of insane proportions, probably like something you would see winning a Tony award and it would leave you in stitches, rolling all over the floor. With Tony’s on their mantle and South Park being as strong as ever, Parker and Stone would be doing Oscar watchers a favor by taking some time off to take on hosting duties.
Like Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris, Timberlake is a showman with the chops to take on a gig like the Oscars. The super talented Timberlake, whose film career is thriving with many more films down the road, would have a number of hats to wear (comedian, performer, dancer, singer, etc.) and I think he’s one of the few entertainers who can seamlessly take off one and put on the next. With JT at the helm, the Oscars would be classy, sophisticated, and entertaining. I can see Timberlake being a speedy host as well, articulate and delightful as well as very humble. He’s got a charming personality and the look of an Oscar host. Having waded in the waters of being a front man for a boy band, he’s got the confidence too, let alone the chops, to be an Oscar host.
Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling
The last few hosting pairs may have bombed come Oscar night, but this is a pair of young, undoubtedly talented actors who also have the charisma and the competence to oversee the biggest night in Hollywood. After their chemistry-filled work together in Crazy Stupid Love, Stone and Gosling have shown their diversity in a number of films and even paired up in the less-than-spectacular Gangster Squad. With Stone’s natural comedic timing and Gosling’s subtle presence, the two would be a fine balance, and would be the most attractive combination of actors to ever call themselves Oscar hosts.
Speedy, efficient, talented, beloved, special, awesome. All words that describe the perfect Oscar host…and Tom Hanks.
Who do you think should host the 86th Academy Awards?
Article by Mike Murphy