When Seth MacFarlane was picked to host the 2013 Academy Awards, my esteemed colleague Robin Hitchcock wrote a list of preferable hosts, including the Oogieloves, the Romney sons, and Jennifer Aniston handcuffed to Angelina Jolie. I share many of Robin’s criticisms of him and his mean style of comedy that continually marginalizes already-marginalized people. Occasionally, his jokes can make me laugh very hard (such as the “Fuck You, Thunder!” song from Ted), but those occasions are increasingly rare. I also can’t understand the logic behind picking MacFarlane even from a ratings standpoint; are fans of Seth MacFarlane’s comedy really going to tune into the Academy Awards instead of Seth MacFarlane’s animated shows that air at the same time? Even if the episodes are reruns that night?
|A rare inspired bit of MacFarlane comedy|
Anyway, MacFarlane’s hosting is a done deal, and I’m going to watch the ceremony no matter who’s hosting. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be a pleasant surprise. For future ceremonies, though, I’d like to see the Academy stop trying to appeal to a younger demographic (remember that disaster with James Franco and Anne Hathaway?) and stick to picking people who will just do a good job. Here are my suggestions for future Oscar hosts, presented in no particular order.
1. Tom Hanks
I would love for the Academy to break its pattern of picking straight white guys, believe me, but I’ll make an exception for Tom Hanks, because Tom Hanks needs to host the Oscars.Tom Hanks is a national treasure. He’s a very good actor, personable, hilarious, and willing to take the piss out of everyone and everything, especially himself. I still remember Steve Martin’s joke from his first hosting gig: “There’s been an update in the plot to kidnap Russell Crowe, and all I have to say is – Tom Hanks, I’m very ashamed of you.” Martin’s joke was funny enough on its own, but then the camera cut to Hanks in the audience looking shame-faced and mouthing, “I’m sorry,” which made it hilarious and memorable.
Also, he did slam poetry about Full House on Jimmy Fallon’s show.
Tom Hanks is a likable guy, and his humor is very surprising and unpredictable without being obnoxiously “edgy” in a “look at me, I’m so edgy because I’m un-PC!” way. Make it happen, Academy.
2. Emma Thompson
Homer Simpson once said about Daniel Craig, “Is America ready for a British James Bond?” (Oh, Homer. Never change.) Others may have a similar question about Emma Thompson: “Is America ready for a British Oscar host?” Well, this American is. Emma Thompson is a multi-talented, classy lady, a renowned actress (and my personal favorite). Sometimes people forget how funny she can be. If you need a reminder, check out her Golden Globes acceptance speech for Sense and Sensibility, where her speech was written in the style of Jane Austen.
Sure, Jane Austen-related humor isn’t going to appeal to every Oscar viewer, but Thompson is versatile in the type of comedy she can do (and has done). She’s charming and witty, and she’d probably completely outclass the joint, which is why the Academy would never pick her, but they should.
3. Neil Patrick Harris and Jane Lynch
Two obvious choices, as they’ve both hosted award shows in recent history, but why not have them host together in an awesomely funny LGBTQ duo? They both know how to sing and dance, they had comic chemistry in the one episode of Glee they did together, and their stars are both on the rise without any sign of stopping.
I want to see this pair in action. Harris is halfway to a hosting EGOT already (if there were such a thing), and I still laugh when I remember this joke from Lynch at the Emmys: “People have often asked me why I’m a lesbian. Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of Entourage!”
4. Samuel L. Jackson
Everyone likes Samuel L. Jackson. If I meet a person who dislikes Samuel L. Jackson, I automatically find that person untrustworthy. I haven’t seen him in any kind of hosting capacity, but he’s got a great sense of humor and natural charm, and he’s one of the few potential Oscar hosts that could appeal to the stuffy Academy snobs and the populist youth demographic the Academy desperately courts every year.
Also, consider this: if Samuel L. Jackson hosts the Oscars, we can have a montage of Samuel L. Jackson movies at some point, because why not? (Side note: he totally should’ve been nominated for Django Unchained, by the way.)
5. The Muppets
You think I am kidding. I am not. I don’t care if the pupeteering logistics would make this difficult. Kermit would be the best host ever, Miss Piggy could try to steal attention from the other actresses, Fozzie could write all of the awards patter, and Gonzo can choreograph stunts and chicken dance numbers set to the Best Original Score nominees while Statler & Waldorf heckle them. We can even have the Sesame Street Muppets make an appearance so there can be an actual Oscar at the Oscars.
This needs to happen.