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15 Possible Oscar Hosts

By John - October 23, 2008 - 14:36 America/Montreal - 48 Comments

Oscar-Host-84.jpgI make no secret about it. Besides Christmas, the Oscars are my favorite time of year. Since I’m a movie freak that really shouldn’t surprise anyone. The one day that we celebrate the year that was in the movie world is something I look forward to every year. I know it’s the cool thing to talk smack about the Oscars, but to me it’s one of those things I count down to every year. I’m kind of a loser that way. And for those who like to point out that the Oscar ratings were down last year… don’t forget that aside from the Superbowl it was still the highest rated television broadcast of the year.

Anyway, every year as we approach Oscar season the speculation starts over who will (or should) host the event. I have some very strong feelings on this issue. First and foremost, since it’s the night to celebrate the world of MOVIES, I prefer to have a MOVIE personality host the event rather than a comedian or TV personality. Call me crazy. I don’t see why you’d get Slash from Guns N’ Roses to host the Tony Awards.

With that being said I’ve put together a list of 15 possible hosts for this year’s Oscar ceremonies with what I see as the pros and cons for each potential host. I’m listing them in order of my preference, not in order of what I think their actual chances are of hosting.

Oscar-Host-Gervais.jpg #1 - RICKY GERVAIS
Pros - The man is absolutely hilarious and continues to be a growing name in the industry. His most recent film “Ghost Town” shows he has all the tools to be a cinematic comedy superstar and his one man stage shows prove he is extremely qualified to handle the hosting duities. A terrific personality and stage presence make Gervais my #1 pick to host the Oscars this year.

Cons - He was already approached about hosting this year and turned it down. DAMN!

Oscar-Host-Clooney.jpg #2 - GEORGE CLOONEY
Pros - He is the last vestige of the classic Hollywood movie star. An Oscar winner and multi nominated actor and director with some of the most natural charm and presence in the business. George Clooney IS Hollywood and would make a fantastic front man for the event.

Cons - Some people would be turned off from this pick simply because of his political beliefs.

Oscar-Host-Carell.jpg #3 - STEVE CARELL
Pros - Carell is a hot name right now, very very funny and has all the tools at his disposal to run and hold the Oscar evening together. Having been a writer for Jon Stewart doesn’t hurt his resume for the job either. He has broad appeal and that would help the Oscar ratings.

Cons - Clearly a movie start NOW… but he’s still relatively new in the industry

Oscar-Host-Martin.jpg #4 - STEVE MARTIN
Pros - To this day I think he may have turned in the best Oscar hosting performance of my lifetime. Best joke ever made at the Oscars: “To me, hosting the Oscars is like making love to a beautiful woman. I can only do it when Billy Crystal is out of town”. I nearly laughed myself sick. He is a film legend. He is beyond hilarious. He is all class and not affraid to poke serious fun at the stars. He’s Steve Martin damnit!

Cons - It’s been a while since he’s hosted and since his last hosting gig his film resume hasn’t exactly been stellar. I completely love the man, but to be honest he’s not as relevant as he used to be.

Oscar-Host-Hanks.jpg #5 - TOM HANKS
Pros - Is there a more respected statesman for the film industry than this man right now? He is Hollywood nobility. Winner of back to back best actor Oscars, nominated multiple other times, respected and admired throughout the industry and lest we forget a very funny comedic performer and one time stand up artist.

Cons - To be honest I can’t really think of any.

Oscar-Host-Washington.jpg #6 - DENZEL WASHINGTON
Pros - Another performer who is a landmark in the movie industry. Multiple Oscar winner and habitual nominee. One of the most recognizable figures in the movies today who also holds heaps of respect from the movie community.

Cons - Even though the Oscars would have their own team of comedy writers to create material for the host to use, I’m not really sure Washington could comfortably work with the material in a virtual one man stand up routine. Could feel awkward.

Oscar-Host-Ferrell.jpg #7 - WILL FERRELL
Pros - Everytime Will Ferrell has appeared on the Oscars he generally steals the show regardless who does the skit with him. He is a legitimate A-list movie star (for comedy at any rate), very popular, would attract an audience and clearly can hold his own in the stand up department.

Cons - Some people may see Ferrell hosting as just a gimmick and write him off. Some (not me) would also see him hosting as “beneath” the Oscars (then why have Chris Rock host it one year?)

Oscar-Host-Stewart.jpg #8 - JON STEWART
Pros - Stewart has hosted the Oscars multiple times already and so would bring a sense of continuity and perhaps even tradition with him. He seems to have improved from his first time hosting with last year doing a very good job. Very funny, very popular and seems more and more comfortable with the role.

Cons - He’s not a movie personality. yes I know he had bit parts in a couple of films, but there is no debate that he is first and foremost a TV personality. His political satire could be a turn off for some people.

Oscar-Host-Seinfeld.jpg #9 - JERRY SEINFELD
Pros - One of the most amazingly gifted comedians of our generation. Quick, witty with a terrific delivery. Could and would make the Oscars a very entertaining program this year.

Cons - Again, like Jon Stewart, my problem with Jerry Seinfeld is that he is first and foremost a TV personality and not really a member of the film world. To nit pick a little bit, he also turned off a lot of people in the Documentary field his last appearance on the Oscars when he was presenting the award for Best Feature Documentary and basically insulted the genre.

Oscar-Host-Downey.jpg #10 - ROBERT DOWNEY JR.
Pros - Even with The Soloist being pushed back a year, 2008 is pretty much the year of Robert Downey Jr. He is an insanely hot commodity right now and people love a good comeback and redemption story. He’s handsome, popular and very charismatic.

Cons - This is Robert’s big come back year… but many people will still remember that he disappeared for a reason for a while. There will probably be many people in the Academy that would probably like to see RDJ keep himself on the straight and narrow for a couple of more years before taking a risk on him.

Oscar-Host-Fey.jpg #11 - TINA FEY
Pros - Besides the fact that Tina Fey is an absolute comedic genius, has one of the hottest and most awarded comedies on TV right now (30 Rock) and the head writer for the tv institution know as Saturday Night LIve, Tina Fey is simply one of the most likable personalities around and could hold an Oscar crowd with very little trouble.

Cons - Once again… Tina Few, who although has appeared in a couple of movies, is undeniably first and foremost a television personality. Not to mention some people may not be happy with her amazing Sarah Palin impersonations.

Oscar-Host-Stiller.jpg #12 - BEN STILLER
Pros - In frat terms Ben Stiller is a legacy with family lines in the entertainment industry. But don’t forget he is also an insanely successful filmmaker and actor as well. Very funny man who does solid work in stand up solo situations. Add to that he has a very popular movie out (Tropic Thunder) this year too.

Cons - Stiller has his detractors in the film world. Like Ferrell many people see Stiller as “low brow” and perhaps not a fit for the Oscars. Still, I’d like to see him get a shot.

Oscar-Host-Colbert.jpg #13 - STEPHEN COLBERT
Pros - One of the most popular figures on TV and an absolute comedic mad man. Stephen Colbert has done hosting duties before for other programs and has always done extremely well in these kinds of situations.

Cons - Again, he’s a TV personality and not a movie personality. Like a few others there would be those turned off by his political material. Another knock against him is that he and Stewart are seen as two sides to the same coin and Stewart has already hosted a couple of times… they’d probably be more likely just to bring Stewart back again.

Oscar-Host-Boll.jpg #14 - UWE BOLL
Pros - Say what you will about this man’s filmmaking abilities (or lack thereof), this man has the biggest balls in the film industry and one of the flat out funniest story tellers (in personal I mean… not in his movies). He could get on stage and just tell everyone in the audience why their movies all suck compared to his and that they’re all cowards and then challenge the winners to a boxing match. Come on… admit it… you’d tune in for sure.

Cons - Well… he’s Uwe Boll.

Oscar-Host-Degeneres.jpg #15 - ELLEN DEGENERES
Pros - She hosted once and didn’t release toxic gas to kill everyone.

Cons - What? You mean besides the fact that she sucked on a Jena Jameson level of suck power? This woman was an embarrassment and should never be allowed near this show again. And yes… I did rate her lower than Uwe Boll.


  1. Ross says:

    Although I love Gervais (as a personality, I’m one of the few who’s not a fan of his TV work ie. The Office and Extras) I think he’s a bit too freeform for the Oscars if you know what I mean. To me the host has to be more professional feeling than Gervais’ style comes across as. It’s hard to explain in words…

    But as far as who I think SHOULD host it’s 100% Goerge Clooney. As you have mentioned many times before, John, he is just about the last living true movie star. The guy just oozes the classiness we associate with what a movie star is supposed to have (think Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant etc). He’s suave, classy, confident, funny when he needs to be, it may raise viewers because of how big he is (plus not to forget woman adore him ie. more woman might watch because of him alone), and the most important thing, like you say John, he’s a MOVIE PERSONALITY. Not a TV star. I really can’t think of a better host.

  2. ADOX says:

    why do you do your lists backwards John, end with one it’ll make it funner

  3. Derek 8-Track says:

    I call The Oscars “My Super Bowl”

  4. Derek 8-Track says:

    I think that since it is used to celebrate movies we should let those involved in film sit back and enjoy while The Academy pampers them with gold statues. Why should they have to work? Its their night, let them enjoy the show while some comedian or tv personality carries the burden of hosting.

  5. Ross says:

    Will Ferrell - Too “jokey” to host a full length show like the Oscars. Too “silly”.

    Robert Downey Jr - almost as good of a choice as Clooney. He’s Robert fucking Downey Jr for god’s sake! :P

    Denzel Washington - Wouldn’t work. I think it WOULD be awkward him trying to do a full show with jokes, written or otherwise. He’s just not right for it.

    Steve Carrell - I think you’re right, John, he may be too fresh to take on something as big as the Oscars.

    Steve Martin - I’ve never understood the liking for Steve Martin. His movies, modern anyway (haven’t caught much of his older stuff, maybe I should…) are usually safe family stuff that’s usually not remotely funny (to me anyway) and I find his stand-up embarrassing (what’s with the whole “I’m a wild and crazy guy! thing?!). I know Doug idolizes him but I just don’t get it…

  6. haole says:

    Has Hollywood ever really cared about opposing political views? I mean, is that a serious issue to them?

  7. Darren J Seeley says:

    Sadly, no Whoopi Goldberg .
    Now, Steve Martin I would love to see back as well- and he does still appear in films. (he had an uncredited role in ‘Baby Mama’)

    I am one of the few who liked Jon Stewart.

    I do seem to recall a day when the late non-actor Johnny Carson hosted all those times. Did we really care so much then?


    Who the Seeler wants to see host the Oscars in random order after the first three in bold:


    2) Sacha Baron Cohen

    3) Jack Black (note: he has hosted the Nick movie awards!)

    4) Steve Martin

    5) Whoopi Goldberg

    6) Jon Stewart

    7) Eddie Murphy

    8) Kathy Griffin [no, I haven't lost by damn mind]

    9) Tom Hanks

    10) Steven Spielberg and/or Martin Scorcese [yeah, directors, why the heck not?]

    11) Glenn Beck (never, ever happen, but I was just…compelled…)

    12) Jim Carrey

    13) Ben Stiller

    14) Billy Crystal.

    15) George Clooney

  8. Derek 8-Track says:

    I’ve always enjoyed Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, and Whoopi.
    Even though they are in movies I think they make great choices because they aren’t big wigs like Clooney, Denzel, Downey and Hanks… who should be sitting back enjoying the Academy Awards rather than working them.

  9. entertainmenttodayandbeyond says:

    Crystal is the best, but He’s been gunshy about doing it again. I think Tina Fey would be a great pick. Maybe Im crazy but why hasn’t Jay Leno ever been asked! He’s as mainstream as it comes and he’s certainly earned a shot!

  10. wolfpack says:

    I think Steve Martin was always the best. He was funny and witty and kept the show moving along exactly what a host should do. Seinfeld is to out of sync now as evident by his horrible Microsoft. I think that Ricky Gervais would be great because I’ve met him and he’s just a really great guy.

  11. Meli says:

    I’ve love to see Ricky Gervais it is a shame he turned it down. Man, he could make the Oscar awkwardly funny in a good way!

    Billy Crystal and Steve Martin are my favorites, but I don’t think we’ll every see either of them host the Oscars again.

    I’d be good with John Stewart again. Others from your list I think could work George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Steve Carell, Tom Hanks (I don’t think he has any interest in hosting, at least he didn’t in the past.). I like Will Ferrel and Ben Stiller, but I think they both might be a turn off for their silliest, especially Ferrell.

    Darren - I think Kathy Griffin would be hilarious.

  12. Sound Designer Dan says:

    Gervais turned it down for the reasons of being “scared shitless” of hosting and that he couldn’t ad-lib.

  13. King Jonny says:

    Personally, I think the two following guys could host the Oscars if given the chance:

    1. Alec Baldwin (No explanation required. He’s Alec Baldwin)

    2. Bruce Campbell (See above. Other than that, though, Campbell’s got a load of charisma and a sharp wit to boot. He’d be an excellent host.)

  14. aaron says:

    i think it’ll be Will Ferrell

  15. MDean says:

    Will Smith

  16. Tarmac says:

    Aw Hell yeah, I never thought about Bruce Campbell! Best idea I’ve heard all night and these have been good suggestions!

  17. Travisemo says:

    @ Ross-
    You might want to check out Planes Trains and Automobiles. Pure funny! Steve Martin says “I do not play with my balls”. He would still be great host.

  18. travis says:

    Hey John, I’ve been meaning to ask this question but it seems every time I read one of your blogs having to do with my question are no longer being commented by practically anyone. Will you please tell me the four movies you’ve given 4/4? And another offbeat question, did you enjoy Jurassic Park? Sorry for the weird questions. Thank you.

  19. Kokushi says:

    Christopher Walken, Conan o Brien.

    Will Ferrell sucks and Ben Stiller too, both crappy actors with crappy movies (except Tropic Thunder thanks to RDJ and Meet The Parents thanks to De Niro).

  20. Mr.Death says:

    I agree with what King Johnny said and have Alec Baldwin host.

    I like your list John. Although I would have placed Colbert higher.

    I also agree with Darrel. Carson hosted many times. The Academy shouldn’t be putting some people over others because they’re movie actors. If a TV personality is better, have them host.

  21. Mr.Death says:

    Jason Bateman could be interesting too.

  22. Broly says:

    What no Willy Will?

  23. kiddo says:

    chelsea handler! haha just kidding, love her, i would like to see her host some kind of awards just to see her skills
    steve martin would be awesome, as would be jerry seinfeld
    but my pick goes to tina fey!!!

  24. TheMovieVampire says:

    Where’s Cris Rock? His last time hosting it was great and he’s the best stand-up alive IMO. He’s also a little closer to being a movie star than some of the people listed.

  25. Deke Thornton says:

    Ben Stiller is a great idea. He’s done Oscar skits that have been funny, so he’s already proven he won’t crack up there. Nothing against David Letterman, but it was painful to watch people not responding to his jokes… for four hours. Would hate to see a Tina Fey skit go on that long. I think Stiller could tow it. Same thing with Will Ferrell. Same thing with Tom Hanks… everyone loves that guy.

  26. Moe says:

    Denis Leary, anyone?

  27. Karl Hungus says:

    Ah! I’m torn between Gervais, Colbert and Boll!

    Yes, Boll would be an amazing host.

  28. Kate says:

    Billy Crystal will always be my favorite, but I’d like to see Robin Williams take the wheel. Just so I can see the network censors miss dirty jokes because he’s talking so fast.

  29. Jason says:

    *chanting* uwe boll. uwe boll. uwe boll.

  30. EricD says:

    If you want to give the job to someone from TV throw it to Craig Ferguson. Dude is funnest man walking the planet right now.

  31. EricD says:

    If you insist on sticking with someone from the movie industry then I vote for Gary Busey.

  32. darkbhudda says:

    My choice for host would be William Shatner. He’s got the right personality for the role.

  33. tiff k says:

    I still love billy crystal! Haha but I’d like to see Tom hanks, RDJ, George Clooney do it too!

  34. ADirtyJob says:

    What? No Neil Patrick Harris? For heaven’s sake, the man could make his entrance on a unicorn!

  35. bigsampson says:

    to me all those picked would still not make me want to watch the oscars except one…..UWE BOLL….dude i would actually pay to see him host…..i mean i can see what he would improve after each winner
    “wtf how can shawshank win!!! the movie was crap..havent you seen dungion siege you pansy critics” jajajaa

  36. Nate-O says:

    I would like to see Jeremy Piven host…..Let hug it out bitch…lol

  37. Moe says:


    I agree with you 1000% - Craig Ferguson - TV’s Craig Ferguson - is absolutely hilarious. He can do scripted comedy, is a fantastic ad-libber and can even do sensitive too (watch is tribute to his Dad, amazing)

    I’m officially on board with Craig Ferguson.

  38. Dan says:

    Steve Martin!! Although he hasn’t made really good film, just go watch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Michael Caine, probably his best film ever! That’s a film I will probably watch once a year for the rest of my life, it is just too funny! I miss that Steve Martin!! I’m sure somehow, he’ll be back at some point with a great comedy! For the Oscars, I still think he would be a great choice since, we know he can do it well!!

    My other choices would be Robert Downey Jr, Tom Hanks and, Georges Clooney, They all have the intelligence and the wit to do it.


    doug nagy.

  40. Meli says:

    I didn’t even think of Craig Ferguson he would be hilarious. I’d like to see him have a shot, but I don’t think he’s high profile enough to be considered. A lot of people would go - who? Not that that is a bad thing, but I think the Academy likes a household face.

  41. Dragonslayer says:

    Uwe Boll, are you kidding me?

    My picks for Oscar host: Doug Nagy, Tom Hanks, or Robert Downey Jr.

  42. Dragonslayer says:

    Or better yet….GARY BUSEY!

  43. Kristina says:

    Hugh Jackman should be on this list. He’s been the host of the Tony Awards for Broadway for a few years now and he’s been a STELLAR host.

  44. Sherrie says:

    Well, I was going to say Will Ferrell would be a fun pick, then I saw Robert Downey jr on your list, that would be cool too… but then I came to Uwe Boll… OMG! Yes! That would be… Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  45. JimJam says:

    I agree with the Hugh Jackman comment for sure

  46. Dragonslayer says:

    Gary Busey, guys. C’MON!

  47. Cait says:

    Join my facebook group, “1,000,000 Strong for Stephen T Colbert to host the Oscars!” Spread the word. Thanks!!

  48. harlem says:

    i thought ellen was actually funny and did a good job actually.

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