From James Franco and Anne Hathaway to Billy Crystal and Hugh Jackman, TheWrap looks back at the Hollywood stars who have hosted the Academy Awards over the last 25 years
12. James Franco & Anne Hathaway (2011)
He was nearly comatose. She overcompensated by being mind-numblingly perky. And a pairing that didn’t make a lot of sense on paper ended up making no sense at all on stage.
11. Seth MacFarlane (2013)
It’s not a good idea to start your Oscar show with a lengthy bit about what a terrible host you might be. But MacFarlane did just that, playing down his swankiness, playing up his smuttiness (“Show Us Your Boobs!”) and setting exactly the wrong tone for the big night.
10. Neil Patrick Harris (2015)
Harris has the skill set to be a great host as the Tonys and Emmys have shown. But NPH saved his worst hosting job for his biggest gig, maybe because the show had no idea how to play to his strengths. And hey, there were some truly impressive sleight of hand magic tricks at the end of the night -- but after a three-hour build-up, nobody cared.
9. David Letterman (1995)
You have to feel bad for Letterman, who followed his idol Johnny Carson onto the Oscar stage but didn’t adapt to the job the way Carson had. Some of his stuff was actually pretty funny, but his Oscarized version of the "Late Show" was a bad fit, and you could tell that he knew it.
8. Alec Baldwin & Steve Martin (2010)
Individually, sure. Together, ho-hum. There’s something about hosting the Oscars that diminishes a performer if they have to share the spotlight.
7. Jon Stewart (2006, 2008)
Stewart got off to a rocky start the first time he hosted, no doubt thrown by the notoriously difficult Oscar audience. But he got more assured as that show went along -- and when he hosted again two years later, he was sharp and smart and funny.
6. Ellen DeGeneres (2007, 2014)
She’s an easy, comfortable Oscar host, which is quite an accomplishment given the pressures of the job. Never a thrilling presence on the Oscar stage, DeGeneres is nonetheless a reliable one who can be counted on to deliver moments like her Oscar selfie.
5. Chris Rock (2005)
Rock gets a bad rap because Sean Penn
didn’t appreciate that Jude Law
joke, but his monologue had real bite and his filmed bits were funny. He’s exactly the right host for this year of #OscarsSoWhite, but he was a strong, underrated one 11 years ago, too.
4. Whoopi Goldberg (1994, 1996, 1999, 2002)
For a host who was rarely the producers’ first choice in the four years she did the job, Goldberg supplied plenty of indelible Oscar moments: her “Moulin Rouge”-style entrance in 2002, her costume changes in 1999 and her delight in tweaking the ABC censors every chance she got whenever she hosted.
3. Billy Crystal (1990-93, 1997-98, 2000, 2004, 2012)
Let’s face it, his last few times hosting the show were pretty stale -- but Crystal deserves to be high on the list (or maybe even top the list) for the four years, 1990-1993, in which he reinvented the job. Bonus points for the 1997 return in which he debuted the montage that inserted him into the year’s top movies.
2. Hugh Jackman (2009)
When it seemed as if the standup-comic-as-Oscar-host tradition was becoming awfully tired, producers Bill Condon
and Lawrence Mark brought in a singing, dancing, charismatic movie star to show what a new kind of host could do. Since then, no other star has come close to doing what Jackman did, maybe because none could.
1. Steve Martin (2001, 2003)
He’s smart, classy and relaxed, an effortless performer with a sharp wit who knows how to hit the right tone, even when he hosted a show that began a few days after the Iraq war began. Plus the crew all say he's the most low-maintenance host imaginable.