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 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 seven suggestions. Two of them already have a connection to the producers while all of them have been standouts on previous awards 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 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.”
Robert Downey Jr. has excelled in his half dozen appearances as a presenter on the Oscars. The two-time nominee recently told GQ that he was certain he would win at least one Academy Award in his career. He contended for Best Actor in 1992 for headlining the biopic “Chaplin,” which included his lovely rendition of Charlie Chaplin‘s song “Smile.”
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler knocked it out of the park as hosts of this year’s Golden Globes. Fey, who presented at the 2009 Oscars with Downey, revealed a surprisingly nice 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. While Poehler has not appeared on the Oscars, she has been responsible for some of the most memorable moments on the Emmys, including the “beauty pageant” that culminated in the crowning of the 2011 Comedy Actress champ.
Meron and Zadan booked Seth 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 emcees of the 2008 ESPYs as well.
Melissa McCarthy just hosted “SNL” for the second time and contended for an Emmy last year for her first time at bat. She was the surprise winner of Poehler’s “pageant” (“Mike and Molly“) and was an Oscar nominee that year as well for her scene-stealing performance in “Bridesmaids.”
Jimmy Kimmel did an outstanding job as the emcee of last fall’s Emmy Awards. 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.”