Seth MacFarlane has made it official that he will not encore as Oscars host. And Tina Fey has taken herself out of the running as his replacement. That has kicked guessing game as to who should emcee these kudos into high gear. Vote in our poll at the bottom of this post.
Given the strong musical background of returning 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 kudocast. We offer up six suggestions. If your favorite is not among them, let us know in the comments section below and we may add them to the poll.
Meron and Zadan booked MacFarlane as this year’s emcee after seeing him host “Saturday Night Live” where he showed a flair for comedy and singing. Justin Timberlake just joined the ranks of five-time hosts of this late night staple. He won Emmys for his two most recent appearances and is riding high on the success of his chart-topping disc “The 20/20 Experience.” And he did a credible job as emcee of the 2008 ESPYs as well.
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 headlined their recent 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. Jackman contended for Best Actor at the recent Oscars and was part of the show-stopping performance by the cast of “Les Miserables.”
Two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith just ratttled off a rap of his Grammy-winning hit “Summertime” on “The Late Show.” This charmer has shone in his five appearances as a presenter on the Oscars.
Another two-time contender, Robert Downey Jr., also excelled in his half dozen appearances on the Oscars. He was nominated for Best Actor in 1992 for headlining the biopic “Chaplin,” which included his lovely rendition of Charlie Chaplin‘s song “Smile.”
Jimmy Kimmel did an outstanding job as the emcee of last fall’s Emmy Awards. And with his late-night talker shifting recently to the 11:30 hour, ABC would welcome the opportunity to showcase their star on the biggest entertainment show of the year.
Or they could harken back to Gower Champion‘s fabled 1968 awardscast when there was no host but plenty of star power who were dubbed the “Friends of Oscar.”