It seems that everyone who is popular has hosted a ceremony of the Academy Awards and the producers of the show have done everything to hold the audience’s attention.
In their strive for high ratings during the past few years we have witnessed everything from singing hosts to young and hip hosts. They always manage to surprise but sometimes the surprise is not as successful.
Nevertheless, since it is such an important component of the ceremony, here’s a short list of hosts and their trademarks.
Bob Hope first hosted the Oscars in 1940, honouring the films that were released throughout 1939. This doesn’t make him a recent Oscars’ host but then he is the record-holder for hosting the show most times and therefore he is worth mentioning. He also hosted the 25th and 38th Academy Awards, which were respectively the first to be televised and the first to be televised in colour. During his long career of the Oscars’ emcee one could say that nothing could take Bob Hope by surprise except that one moment in 1966. Then he was given an Honorary Oscar by Jack Lemon and the Academy President at the time Arthur Freed for his service to the motion picture industry.
According to most viewers he is the most entertaining host of recent ceremonies. He has hosted the Oscars nine times, second only to Bob Hope’s eighteen appearances as an emcee. In 1992, he was wheeled out on stage with Hannibal Lecter’s facemask and in 2000 he attempted to tell the TV viewers what stars in the audience were thinking, just to mention a few moments. Last year he returned as a host after Eddie Murphy dropped out. His last appearance before Academy Awards 2012 was in 2004.
Whoopi Goldberg has been a host four times, her last being in 2002. She was also the first woman to host the Oscars alone. Known for one-liners and quick costume changes, it’s impossible to predict what she is going to come out like at any minute of the ceremony. At the 71st Academy Awards she walked out on stage dressed as Queen Elizabeth I, probably as a joke aimed at Shekhar Kapur’s film Elizabeth and at the 74th Academy Awards she appeared on a swing hanging from the ceiling – a pun to Moulin Rouge!.
Hugh Jackman has hosted the Oscars only once and made up with song and dance for what the show lacked in humour. It was the true meaning of the word ‘show’. As part of his performance, Jackman pulled a confused Anne Hathaway out of the audience to be his singing partner but he didn’t join her on stage when she hosted the Oscars a few years later. It was an amazing demonstration of his abilities as a performer but his energy couldn’t compensate and achieve the high ratings for the producers.
James Franco and Anne Hathaway
When Anne Hathaway and James Franco were emcees for the Oscars they looked sincerely thrilled to be hosting the ceremony. Most of their jokes were quite good but didn’t get as many laughs as they could have if delivered with a straight face. Instead, they were accompanied by the hosts’ giggling. One of the surprises of the show that year was the unexpected appearance by Billy Crystal, who introduced a hologram of legendary Bob Hope. Crystal received a standing ovation the moment he walked out on stage.