Jimmy Kimmel will join an illustrious group of performers when he takes on hosting the 89th Academy Awards on February 26. Since the first Oscars were handed out in 1929, dozens of Hollywood’s finest actors and entertainers — including Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Martin, and Frank Sinatra — have served as hosts for the biggest awards show on the planet. Click through our photo gallery above for many headliners who have hosted the Academy Awards.
The first Oscar ceremony in 1928 took place at the famous Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, with tickets going for five dollars (about $70 in today’s money). The ceremony lasted only about 15 minutes, and was hosted by director William C. deMille and actor Douglas Fairbanks, who was also the first president of the motion picture academy. Winners in 12 categories were announced weeks prior to the event, which was the only Oscar ceremony in history to not be broadcast on radio.
Actor and comedian Bob Hope holds the record for the most frequent Oscar host with 19 appearances either solo or as co-host. For most of the 1990s and early 2000s, Billy Crystal was synonymous with the Oscars, hosting on nine occasions, always bringing out his now-classic medley of songs that interpolated the titles of the Best Picture nominees for that year. Crystal’s fellow “Comic Relief” host Whoopi Goldberg made history twice when she hosted in 1994: she was the first actor of color to host the Oscars solo, and was the first woman to host the show on her own (Agnes Moorehead co-hosted with Dick Powell at the 1948 ceremony).
It should be noted that for a number of years, the academy chose to not have a host and instead relied on three or more rotating hosts throughout the evening. One year included no fewer than six hosts — including Disney favorite Donald Duck. We don’t feature those years in our gallery but have instead focused on years with only one or two Oscar hosts.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.