The Oscar Hosts

When my fellow gal pals Aurora of Once Upon A Screen and Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club and I decided to do another blogathon, #31DaysOfOscar was created. The idea was to bring together film bloggers of all genres to blog about the very best in film as celebrated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Oscar. Be it the best in film, directing, actor, actress, editing, costume, song, screenplay or ANY aspect of the Oscar’s 85 storied and sometimes scandalous years, there is a wealth of blogging material to cover a 5 week period of Oscar season. And how perfect to do so during the peak of awards season and to coincide throughout Turner Classic Movie’s 31 Days of Oscar event. The following piece is my blog entry for this mega blogathon event.

In writing about some aspect of the Oscars, it’s frankly tough to narrow down. So I decided to take a stab at a topic generally forgotten shortly after the Oscars takes place- the hosts. There has been a countless variety of hosts for the Oscar ceremonies over the past 85 years. Some years, hosts have pitched it solo and many years it was presented in a co-hosted or an assemble format. Historically, folks have been often quick to criticize the hosts’ performances as the pressure is incredibly intense to please a large audience celebrating well… the very best in performing!

Not unlike the Saturday Night Live hosts across the years, only those hosts who truly possess mass appeal, can entertain with a universal humor, and ad lib on-the-fly with rapid-fire delivery if needed are popular enough asked to return again. I can only imagine the challenge of being the host of the biggest party of the year to honor and stand in front of some of the biggest talent in cinema (not to mention likely some of the biggest egos as well.)  Not an easy gig. 

 Of those hosts asked to return for repeated Oscar hosting, there are a couple that clearly stand out- Bob Hope and Billy Crystal. Bob Hope hosted a staggering EIGHTEEN times. While skipping some years and done in both solo and co-hosting formats, Hope started hosting in 1940 with the 12th year of Oscars and his final Oscar hosting took place in 1978 in its 50th year. It’s certainly no surprise to me why he was the Academy’s favorite pick to honor the finest in film. Bob Hope had many advantages. He was from the industry as actor himself but as someone who mostly took comedy roles, he was extremely well-liked but not likely ever to be a competitor. As matter of fact, he even poked fun of this fact in his “Road” movies. With his ongoing work with the USO to support our military troops, he was not only very popular at a mass level, but he was also highly respected. The most clear advantage was Hope’s style of humor. This was a man who had uncanny comic timing and lightning speed ability to think on his feet. And unlike many modern comedians, he could deliver jokes without the worry from censors of crossing a line or completely insulting key members of the audience. No wonder he was the ultimate Oscar host.

 The second most beloved Oscar host is Billy Crystal. Crystal has hosted an impressive nine times. Starting with the 62nd Oscar show in 1992, Crystal has continued his popular run as recent as last year. Possessing similar traits and advantages as Hope, Crystal has played up his strengths to charm the Academy Awards’ viewing audience with wide-appeal humor and even some song and dance. His own funny “shout out” to nominees via opening monologue song was a signature Billy Crystal move and a HUGE hit that others have attempted to replicate since.        

Each host/hostess has projected their own sense of style to the role of host. As ‘multi-hosting club’ past host Whoopi Goldberg advised: “There are hosts for different eras. I kind of like it old school… because they knew what they were there for,” said Goldberg, who has hosted the Oscars four times and has the distinction of being the first woman to host by herself. “They were just funny, they didn’t have to prove it. Hosting is not an easy thing and not everyone can do it.”*

 “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane is slotted to host the 85th annual Academy Awards. He’s nominated this year for Best Original Song for his work in “TED” (2012). Personally, I find him hilarious and multi-talented as a man who knows a thing or two about humor, and song & dance, as well. So, I’m hopeful he will do well this year in the host role. As Billy Crystal summed up the job: “Look like you really want to be there,” Crystal advised. “Really love the job and have fun. The moments you can shine, shine, and then get out of the way.”*

As I do every year, I thoroughly look forward to watching the annual Academy Awards. And like always, my husband, my four kids and I will excitedly start watching from the very first moment of red carpet coverage to review all the Hollywood glitz and glamor of the most beautiful and talented stars to the last closing moments as this year’s Oscars show has ended. A tradition we will undoubtedly continue throughout the years… see you on the red carpet!

The Daily Scandal; “Billy Crystal’s Advice For This Year’s Oscar’s Host” :


  1. Your article reminded me that when things work, they can be a lot of fun. I'm quite looking forward to what Seth will bring to the program this weekend and I haven't felt that way about a telecast in quite a while.


  2. I am also looking forward to Seth hosting. I am pulling for him. I think some people don't give him a chance or the credit he deserves sometimes. They see toilet humor (which is awesome!) and they miss the clever and witty humor. Great post!


  3. A great tribute to Oscar hosts. I didn't realize Bob Hope hosted the Oscars 18 times. He must've been terrific – will try to find some footage on YouTube.


  4. I had forgotten that Seth enjoyed classic films, so I look forward to seeing what he brings to the show. Great review! I love seeing the old clips of Bob Hope 🙂


  5. Great post. I have to admit I have mixed opinions of Seth M but hope the better parts of his humor shine and the lesser aspects wane a bit. There was none better than Bob Hope, but I didn't know he hosted 18 times!


  6. I really wish I could have watched any of Bob Hope's performances as an Oscar host!Bill Murray did a very good job last year, specially in his opening singing number. I hope Seth does good, I've only seen him singing, and I liked it.Don't forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! :)Kisses!


  7. Kellee,Fun post! Bob Hope will always remain the standard but I adore Johnny Carson as well – another beloved comedian who could do no wrong for the masses. I am commenting – finally – on the day after the Oscars telecast so I know how MacFarlane did. I didn't find him necessarily funny but thought he did well as an entertainer. I have major complaints about the telecast in general but not of him as the host.Aurora


  8. What'd ya think of Seth's hosting?


  9. While he caught flack from some, I thought Seth was great! Very funny moments. Thanks for sharing, Nikki!


  10. Thanks, R! Did you ever find any Bob Hope Oscar hosting video on YouTube?


  11. Thanks, sis! What's your assessment of Seth's performance?


  12. Me too! Hope must've been amazing to see. BTW, it was Billy Crystal that hosted last year- not Bill Murray (although I do adore Bill Murray). Thanks again for contributing to our blogathon!


  13. Aurora- I enjoyed reading your Oscar post! Thanks sweetie!


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