Now that we know who are overseeing the Oscarcast, let’s turn our attention to who should host the show. Vote in our poll at the bottom of this post.
Given the strong musical background of newly named producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, it would be surprising if their choice didn’t raise their voice in song at some point in the show. We offer up six suggestions. Four of them already have a connection to the producers while all of them have been standouts on previous Oscar shows.
The pair executive produced 2002 Best Picture champ “Chicago” which earned Queen Latifah a Supporting Actress nomination. She also appeared in their movie version of the musical “Hairspray” and headlines their upcoming TV remake of the weeper “Steel Magnolias.” And she emceed the People’s Choice Awards for five years to good reviews.
Bill Condon, who wrote the screenplay adaptation of “Chicago,” oversaw the 2008 Oscarcast which was hosted by Hugh Jackman. It was one of the best-reviewed shows of the decade thanks in no small part to Jackman who shared in the Emmy nomination. He had picked up his own Emmy back in 2005 for hosting the Tonys and contended for that prize, which has since been eliminated, again in 2006 for returning to the rialto.
“Hairspray” helmer Adam Shankman was co-producer of the 2009 Academy Awards which were co-hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Martin soloed on that 2002 show that saw “Chicago” triumph. He has musical chops winning Grammys for Country Instrumental (“Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” 2001) and Bluegrass Album (“The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo,” 2009). And, interestingly, he co-starred with Queen Latifah in the 2003 hit laffer “Bringing Down the House.”
The only kudos that Zadan and Meron produced till now was the 2005 edition of the GLAAD Media Awards. One of the honorees was Billy Crystal who received the Excellence in Media Award. Crystal rode to the rescue of last year’s Oscarcast when Eddie Murphy bailed following the resignation of his pal Brett Ratner as producer. Crystal has hosted the show nine times, second only to Bob Hope who presided over 18 Oscar ceremonies. He certainly has shown that he is a song and dance man with his merry melodies saluting the Best Picture nominees.
When we polled you several weeks ago about your choices for host, Robert Downey, Jr. and Tina Fey topped the list. Separately and together, they have shone in their appearances as presenters on the Oscars.
Downey has demonstrated his musical prowess over the years, including a lovely rendition of Charlie Chaplin‘s song “Smile.” He contended for Best Actor in 1992 for headlining the biopic “Chaplin.” And Fey revealed a lovely singing voice on “30 Rock” last year when she crooned “Paints and Brushes,” a tune she penned herself and sung in the style of Joni Mitchell.