It has been five weeks since the academy confirmed on Oct. 22 that Oscar-winning producer Donna Gigliotti (“Shakespeare in Love”) and Emmy-winning director Glenn Weiss will produce the Oscars for the first time. They have yet to announce a host for the 2019 Academy Awards, which take place on Feb. 24. They can stop looking as we have the perfect person to preside at the podium: Whoopi Goldberg. She isn’t afraid of speaking her mind, which would make for must-see-TV and bring more viewers to the ratings-challenged Oscarcast.
Goldberg has a rich history with the Academy Awards. She was the first woman to solo as Oscar emcee (and four times at that — 1994, 1996, 1999, 2002). She was the first African American actress to reap two Oscar bids, losing lead actress for “The Color Purple” (1985) before winning supporting actress for “Ghost” (1990). As she revealed in her heartfelt acceptance speech: “As a little kid, I lived in the projects and you’re the people I watched. You’re the people that made me want to be an actor.” And she currently serves on the board of governors as a representative of the actors branch.
Before her four well-reviewed turns as an Oscar host, she emceed the 1992 Grammys. Following them she presided over the 2008 Tonys, which were also produced by Weiss. The only one of the big four awards she hasn’t hosted is the Emmys.
She won her second Emmy in 2009 for her work as the moderator of the highly-rated ABC daytime talker “The View.” As she still sits in that chair, there would be ample opportunity to promote her stint as host of the Oscars, which also airs on the alphabet network.
Perhaps she could show highlights of her four previous turns in the spotlight. Among the most memorable moments were her entrance from the ceiling on a swing a la Nicole Kidman in “Moulin Rouge” (watch above) and walking out in whiteface a la Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth” and calling herself the first “African Queen.”
Goldberg was only the second African American actress to win an Oscar (after Hattie McDaniel did for 1939’s “Gone With the Wind”). She produced a special on that trailblazer (“Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel”), which won her an Emmy in 2002. A few weeks later she picked up a Tony for producing the Best Musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
As she had already taken home a Grammy back in 1985 for the recording of her breakthrough one-woman Broadway show, that Tony win made Goldberg the 10th person to achieve the EGOT (as she noted in her appearance on the episode of “30 Rock” that popularized the phrase).
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.