Yesterday I began a rundown of the hosts for this year’s awards season. We have T.J. Miller hosting the Critics Choice Awards, and, to a less exciting degree, we have Jimmy Fallon hosting the Golden Globes. I’m disappointed in that last news due to the fact that Fallon’s upbeat, laissez faire attitude is the perfect fit for the Academy Awards. With Fallon taking the job with the Globes, we have a wide-open position for the most important show of the season. To remedy this situation, today’s Wednesday Listicle will provide a list of the ten perfect candidates for the job.
Over the past sixteen years, we have seen a variety of hosts. Some were brilliant decisions, like David Letterman and Seth MacFarlane (yes, I liked him. He was hired to be offensive, get over it). Others were…less perfect, like Neil Patrick Harris (sadly) and the team of Anne Hathaway and James Franco (remember that nightmare?). Based on statistics, the perfect hosts are the ones who have lighthearted, yet smart jokes, an atmosphere of fun that keeps the room lively, and a general attitude of “wanting to be there.” With that in mind, let’s observe the contenders, shall we?
Oh, and due to the fact she is just too popular and will probably be asked back anyway, the best Oscar host of the past six years, Ellen Degeneres, will be ineligible for this list. Odds are we’ll see her back anyway.
The first name for this list is also my #1 pick. Stephen Colbert is the perfect choice for host of the show. With his smarmy but upbeat attitude, killer ability to deliver a monologue, and general likability in the industry, Colbert would make sure the night is fun for everyone. While his current show is still struggling to find its voice, Colbert has no problem playing any comedic role he needs to, be it the straight man or the Fool. And he’s got the talent for a song-and-dance routine, which can make even the dullest ceremony lively. But most importantly, he can get even the most uninterested Hollywood-type to let loose and have fun. Just watch this video of his final episode and see everyone who showed up. Heck, Jon Stewart’s show was much more popular, and he didn’t even get that kind of attendance. People like Stephen, and when combined with his talent, he’s the perfect host for the 89th Academy Awards.
Following Stephen, just like on television, is Late Late Show host James Corden. Corden got his start on the West End, and eventually Broadway, winning fans for his great work in the modern commedia dell’arte show One Man, Two Guvnors, which he won his Tony for (I’d have preferred Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but Corden was deserving). He parlayed that into a few smaller British and American roles, like Begin Again, before eventually getting his big break as the lead in Into the Woods. After that, he took over for Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show, bringing a British style to American television. He’s turned the show into a success, and his Carpool Karaoke segments are awesome, combining the fun of a Fallon segment with the interview style of Carson or Colbert. Last June, he took those sensibilities to the Tony Awards, putting on one of the best shows in recent memory-an even more impressive feat coming mere hours after the Orlando Nightclub tragedy. He’s filled with talent, enthusiasm and charisma, and he’d be an excellent host for this year’s Oscar ceremony.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
I’ve already noted that Anne Hathaway and James Franco were a horrendous duo, but one of the reasons for that (other than bad writing, bad skits, and Franco giving up halfway through the show and just walking off the stage) was the lack of chemistry. This won’t be an issue if you go with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Funny, smart and just a joy whenever they’re onscreen, these two will keep the mood light and joyful throughout. They’ll already be there due to La La Land’s nomination, and this could go one step further if one or both of them are nominated. And can you think of the jokes when Stone is nominated if Gosling isn’t? They practically write themselves. They’ll already be singing together for whatever La La Land song gets in, it just makes sense that they get control of the entire show. Between the youthful energy, the old-timey feel, and the ratings boost, these two could make the show a big success.
One of the best Oscars of the past ten years occurred February 2009. That year, Slumdog Millionaire was the frontrunner, The Reader was inexplicably nominated, The Dark Knight had been snubbed, and Hugh Jackman was wowing us with killer barbs and a witty opening sequence. Yes, Academy Award-nominee Jackman is a great host, exuding charisma, talent and sex appeal in every move he makes. He hasn’t hosted the awards since the 81st Academy Awards, but he hosted the Tonys back in 2014. The show was only so-so, but he personally was great. He’ll probably be nominated in 2017 for The Greatest Showman on Earth, so it’ll be best to strike the oven while it’s hot. If you don’t believe me, watch his opening performance from his last gig now.
Guys, Leslie Jones has had an interesting 2016. After proving herself a scene stealer on Saturday Night Live, she was given a chance for a major breakout role in Ghostbusters, which made a decent bundle, and she walked away the biggest success, ruling the film with the true comedy whirlwind that was Patty. Unfortunately, some assh*les on the internet didn’t agree, and sent her racist messages for daring to be a black female movie star. When she proved herself too strong for them, they hacked her. She deserves a chance to have a final say, to have to symbolically give the racist haters the finger by coming out on top in a positive way. In short, Leslie Jones should be this year’s Oscar host. I have two reasons for this line of thinking. The first is her comedy: Leslie is sharp, she’s funny, and she’s likable, as if Chris Rock and Ellen had a child for the sole purpose of hosting the Oscars. However, more importantly, she’s legitimately excited for everyone. Have you watched her on Match Game or at the Olympics? She roots for people. She has an enthusiasm for life. To have her at the Oscars, soaking in the joy and rooting for everyone to win their Oscars would be a truly uplifting experience. In short, the only person who would be more excited about the entire night than the nominees and pundits (like me) is Leslie Jones, the happiest, funniest person I can think of.
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele
Would any list be complete without these two? Key and Peele are one of the funniest comedy duos out there. Their hit TV show has just ended, they had a movie earlier this year (best to ignore that one, though), and Key is on the verge of breaking out as a major movie star. However, before that happens, it would be a great joy to bring their comedic sensibilities to the Kodak Theater. With whip-smart timing, humorous characters who may show up, and a general sense of diversity that may be needed to earn the Academy brownie points after leaving Rock in a sea of whiteness last year. Sure, their attempt at “hosting” the VMAs this year was a nightmare from hell, but I’m chalking that one up to the writers on that show. Get the people who wrote their show’s second and third seasons in there, let these two run on their charisma, and you’ll have one helluva show.
No, I’m not talking about Norbit. I’m not talking about Pluto Nash. I’m not even talking about Donkey. I’m talking about Eddie Murphy, one of the greatest comics of all time. Murphy used to be king of the world, becoming the star of SNL, releasing two beloved comedy specials, and releasing three comedy classics all before he turned 23. And then, twenty years later, he received his very own Oscar nomination (he almost won, too, had he not made Norbit the same year). He’s an absolute star, a piece of dynamite on stage, and yet, despite all of this, he’s never hosted the Oscars. He came close in 2011, when he was offered the job, but quit when his friend was fired as producer for inappropriate language. I think the time has come for him to return to the stage. We don’t know if he’ll ever receive a nomination again (although his work in Mr. Church implies he may have one more in him), but if we could get him onstage while he’s still alive, kicking and funny, we could get ourselves a great Oscar ceremony.
I have no idea if the Last Week Tonight show would be a good Oscar host. He kind of hates everything, which is great for his show, but terrible for the Oscars. He’d probably be a better fit for the Golden Globes. But when it comes down to it, there are very few comedians out there as loved as John Oliver. He’s whip smart, he’s funny as hell, and his British insights may make for great jokes about American films. He’s got the standup experience, he’s got the exposure, and he’s got the popularity. Best strike the iron while it’s hot, I say.
Dwayne Johnson could be an Oscar nominee someday. Here me out: he’s got charm, he’s got charisma, and he can act. He’s also starred in at least one major hit so far this year-Central Intelligence-and could very well be in another when Moana is released. However, until the day the Academy decides to give him his own nomination, he’d make an excellent host. Everyone likes him, he’s funny, and based on his work in WWE, he knows how to work a crowd. To quote a wise man, “If you smell what the Rock is cooking…” *raise eybrow*
Is there a bigger comedic star right now than Amy Schumer? She’s got a hit TV show, a bunch of great stand-up specials, and a blockbuster movie last year with Trainwreck. Next year she has Mother/Daughter with Goldie Hawn and a sister comedy with Jennifer Lawrence, not to mention an awards-baity role in Thank You For Your Service. Any of those three could make her a future nominee. Before then, the Academy should strike the iron and bring her in. Not only would she appeal to a wide range of fans, but she would bring a sharp, biting wit to the show that would be sorely missed otherwise. And based on her disdain for these things, she could essentially serve as a more-likable Ricky Gervais for the show. And imagine if she just spent the entire show hitting on Bradley Cooper? I would pay good money just to see that.
You’re welcome, Academy. As for the general readers, let me know in the comments any other options you can think of! And I’ll let you all know when the Academy announces their actual host. Let’s see if they take any of my advice.