Gary Shandling: Corbis Sygma/PAC
Lori Reese
December 11, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

EW picks the host for this year’s Oscars

Now that Billy Crystal has said he’s too busy, and Whoopi Goldberg has been exiled to the center square, the March 25 Academy Awards show needs a savvy emcee who can keep us awake — or at least semiconscious — while we wait for the announcement of the Best Picture winner.

Not to worry. asked 15 editors and writers from Entertainment Weekly’s film and television departments to tell us who should fill Crystal’s shoes. The winner? This year’s Emmy Awards host, Garry Shandling, got the most votes, with acerbic funnyman Chris Rock a close second.

Why Shandling and Rock? Both have movie experience (”Cabin Boy” aside, David Letterman’s critically maligned turn as host in 1993 may have taught Hollywood a lesson about importing smartass outsiders for the show), and both have the ad lib chops to get out of a tight spot when the TelePrompTer breaks down.

That said, here are EW’s nominees — including a few words about why they were chosen.

Garry Shandling (4 votes)
? ”Since his movie career has been such a failure compared to his TV work, he’d be even more biting than he was at the Emmys.”
? ”He’s in with Hollywood royalty [Warren Beatty and Annette Bening].”
? ”If he can make the Emmys entertaining, he can do anything.”

Chris Rock (3 votes)
? ”It would be truly entertaining to watch Rock insult actors for four hours the way he tore into musicians at the MTV Video Music Awards.”
? ”He’s not doing his HBO talk show anymore, so he’s got the time.”

Jon Stewart (2 votes)
? ”Unlike most of his contemporaries, he’s both cool and not too hip for the room; he’d be able to ridicule the more excessive aspects of the show without trashing it with contempt or blithe arrogance.”
? ”He’s witty and snide — the perfect commentator on, and antidote to, this year’s woeful slate of award contenders. Plus, he doesn’t need a greenroom full of writers to help him ad lib.”

Jim Carrey (1 vote)
? ”He’s the symbolic embodiment of the Oscar season: the recognition of unmistakable talent, and the craven pursuit of it. Besides, if the host is going to be talking out of his ass, anyway, he might as well be funny.”

Eddie Murphy (1 vote)
? ”He’s funny — and if he started to bomb, like other hosts, he could always switch characters and pretend to be someone else. Just no hamster jokes, please.”

Tom Hanks (1 vote)
? ”He’s most likely going to end up on stage to get an Oscar anyway, so why not make him work for it.”

Trey Parker and Matt Stone (1 vote)
? ”Funny! Frisky! Fabulous!”

Richard Hatch (1 vote)
? ”Hollywood’s just another cutthroat community, after all.”

Robert Downey Jr. (1 vote)
? ”The show could use an edge of terror.”

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