After the complete disaster that was this past Sunday’s Academy Awards telecast, it’s clear that the Academy needs to take major steps to revamp the ceremony. It can no longer fall back on dragging Billy Crystal out of retirement when other plans fall through. His hosting this year was simply dreadful. With that in mind, let’s use today’s Roundtable to offer our suggestions for people who might make better hosts next year.
I think that the Academy missed out on a great and timely host this year: The Muppets. Really, the Muppets could host the awards any year and it would be infinitely funnier and more enjoyable than the telecast has been in ages. I think the perfect team for hosting the Oscars would be the Muppets and Neil Patrick Harris. By doing this, the Academy appeals to young and old viewers alike, because the Muppets span generations. They’re timeless and ageless, unlike Billy Crystal, who’s looking more and more like Miracle Max every day.
My biggest complaint with the Oscars is that the entertainment aspect of the broadcast continues to pander to the oldest folks in the industry. If the Academy ever wants to see a boost in ratings, it needs to liven things up and stop being so pretentious. Screw the arts. We’re here to celebrate film. Get the silhouette dancers off the stage and do what movies do best – entertain. Don’t give us Billy Crystal. The dude hasn’t entertained anyone with new content in years. We all know how much Hollywood loves to give us sequels, and it turns out that the Academy does too. Billy Crystal’s hosting is nothing more than a sequel to a ceremony we’ve seen many times before.
Last year, the Academy tried to give the show a fresh young twist with hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco, but the content was still crap. With a modern comedy like ‘Bridesmaids’ finally garnering some respect within the industry, I don’t see why there shouldn’t be a tonal shift in the ceremony as well. I’m not saying that Kristen Wiig has to host, but it should be someone with a finger on the pulse of modern comedy that everyone reveres. Personally, I’d love to see Paul Rudd and/or Jason Segel host. If the academy wishes to still aim some bits at the crooners of Hollywood, Rudd and Segel can both pull off the song-and-dance. Or give us Flight of the Conchords. Using comedy and music at the same time, those guys would knock it out of the park.
After sitting through Billy Crystal’s disastrous gig last weekend, I’ve decided that I want Penelope Cruz (without subtitles) to host next year’s Oscars. This way, we’ll get something pretty to look at, and more importantly, we’d spare ourselves from having to listen to lame-ass jokes and skits all night long. It’s the best of both worlds.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
Conan O’Brien seems like kind of an obvious choice to me. As his last comedy tour more than proved, he can do the whole song-and-dance thing to give the hosting gig a classic, traditional feeling, if you’re into that. His sharp, quick wit would hopefully keep the comedy from feeling so canned and pre-packaged, and goofing on and around celebs is kind of what he does for a living. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got a quasi-marketable name, and he knows how to keep things moving.
I think a team of hosts might work well if the right combo can be found. The hosts need to be folks who enjoy the whole Oscar thing without feeling the need to be too formal, or go too far the other way and act like goofy jackasses. (Looking at you, Ben “Avatar” Stiller.) It would also help if the co-hosts had some experience working together. This was the recipe for the Alec Baldwin/Steve Martin pairing three years ago. The thing is, while Steve Martin can be funny, he can also be lazy and a shameless shill for his product of the week. (I know something about this.) Baldwin, on the other hand, just looked heavy on his feet and ill at ease in the role of co-host. The team that I think could knock it out of the park while striking a good balance between skilled hosting and humorous mockery would be Rainn Wilson and Ed Helms.
M. Enois Duarte
I think Neil Patrick Harris would make a hilarious host. He’s already stated in interviews that it’s a job he’d turn down, but I imagine it would probably be one the most memorable Oscar nights ever. Mr. Doogie Howser is one of those rare triple-threat talents: a comedian, singer and highly-energetic dancer. With a good group of writers behind him, the show would be a total blast! I really can’t think of anyone else who would be perfect at throwing witty jabs at rich celebrities. We should start an internet petition!
I have a perverse desire to see Rob Lowe host the Oscars, if for no other reason than that he could open the show with an exact recreation of his notorious 1989 ‘Snow White’ musical number. As his role on ‘Parks and Rec’ will attest, Lowe is a much looser and funnier actor than he used to be when he was younger and much smugger, and he’s willing to make fun of himself about his past. I think he could be funny and move the show along. Have him appear at various times throughout the evening with his ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ hair and single dangling earring. I’d find that hilarious, anyway. Maybe I’d be the only one.
What suggestions do you have for next year’s Oscar host? Tell us in the Comments.