The Oscars are like a fine red wine. They should get better with age. They should make you face-on-the-floor drunk with giddiness about the sheer glory and thrill of movies.
Unfortunately, the award show’s ratings have been as flat as an old gin and tonic these past several years, and the host/hosts haven’t helped. Anne Hathaway and James Franco, in an attempt to reach a younger audience, gave new meaning to the phrase “odd couple” as lackluster out-of-sync Oscar co-hosts in 2011, and Oscar vet Billy Crystal did his usual shtick, stepping in for Eddie Murphy as host of this past February’s telecast.
With the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on the brink of announcing a host for next year’s 85th annual Academy Awards, set to take place Feb. 28, 2013, and airing live on ABC, here are several of our picks for who should host. Jennifer Aniston, we’re looking at you!
Sure, Jimmy Fallon’s under the umbrella of ABC competitor NBC with Late Night, and yes, he told NBC’s Today show in August, “No, I’m not doing the Oscars. It’s an honor to be asked, but it’s not my year.” Eventually, though, Fallon should. He has the respectful silliness, perkiness, youthful appeal, musical chops and credibility with celebs to be a good Oscar host. He could sing and rap his way across a meandering telecast with the gusto of a Saturday Night Live alum used to live TV, flubs and spontaneity. He did a great job hosting the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2010, and he hosted the teen-centric MTV Movie Awards and MTV Video Music Awards years earlier. If anyone can merge the old and the new of Hollywood, Fallon can.
Neil Patrick Harris
He can sing, he can dance, he can smirk, he can act, he can make fun of himself, and other celebrities, without skipping a beat. Neil Patrick Harris has the kind of swagger and sheen, plus a generations-wide following with starring roles in How I Met Your Mother and Doogie Howser, M.D., to give the Oscars some lightness to its gravitas. As host of the Tony Awards for the past three years, he also knows how to carry an awards show without falling under the weight of it, or looking like he doesn’t really care (James Franco, you’re guilty!). Any duets with his friend, and a frequent musical Oscar contributor, Elton John, could be grand.
Oh Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Aniston. It’s about time the bright-eyed actress, who has looks, brains and a nice new engagement ring on her finger, gets a real platform to strut her comedic stuff within a broad setting. She was a hit on Friends, but her movies have snaked up and down like a rollercoaster at the box office. If her new snarky, sassy commercial for Glaceau Smartwater is any indication, she can still crack a joke, at her own expense, with the best of them. We really do miss her Friends-era neurosis. She could add an element of spice to the telecast, and bring in a massive number of viewers. Would Brangelina feel uncomfortable? Perhaps.
If any A-list, Oscar nominated movie star could take the Academy Awards by storm with just a glimpse of his huge grin, it’s Will Smith. He’s handsome, popular, versatile, starring in dramas and comedies, and has the musicality of past Oscar hosts (there’s constant nostalgia for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). He also appeals to adults, both men and women, plus teens and kids. Case in point: He hosted this past year’s 25th annual Kids’ Choice Awards, getting submerged in green slime. Hosting the Oscars would be 20 steps up from that, and who wouldn’t like to see a little slime on those tuxes? He could be a fun, referential host, dressing up like his slick Agent J in Men In Black and its sequels.
With her tough, saucy breakout role in last year’s Bridesmaids earning her an Oscar nomination, and an Emmy win last year for Mike & Molly, plus Emmy nominations this year for both Mike & Molly and hosting Saturday Night Live, Melissa McCarthy is the wild card of the bunch. She’s an up-and-coming, hilarious, down-to-earth, beautiful actress, who also doesn’t look like a Barbie Doll. People can relate to her, and she’s not afraid to make a complete and utter fool of herself for the sake of laughs (see virtually any of her Bridesmaids scenes). Movie and TV audiences have fallen for her, adding up to a double whammy when it comes to viewership. She could add a much-needed spark and sense of newness to the Oscars.
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