Sunday, December 4, 2016

EDITORIAL: Who Should Host The Oscars?

We are now less than three months away from the 89th Annual Academy Awards! The race has begun and films like La La Land, Moonlight, Manchester By The SeaSilence and so many more are campaigning in full force.

The National Board of Review just named the aforementioned Manchester By The Sea as the best film of the year (and it is pretty freaking great), The New York Film Critics Circle named La La Land their best film of the year, and Moonlight won the Gotham award for best film of the year, so the race is pretty open right now. But I'm not here to talk about the race, and to predict what film will win what. I love predicting the Oscar winners and nominees, I do it all the time, but the most interesting aspect of the 89th Annual academy awards, is who will take on the challenge of host?

We are, as I said, just a few months away from Hollywood's most important night, and we still have yet to hear who is going to host, which is out of the ordinary. Last year, Chris Rock was announced to host the Oscars on October 21st, the year before Neil Patrick Harris was announced to host on October 14th, and the year before that Ellen DeGeneres was announced to host in AUGUST... AUGUST!, a full six months before the ceremony took place.

So, you see now what I am getting at. This is odd. I'm even starting to consider the possibility of the forthcoming Oscars not having a host, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Sure, it could shake things up, the show could have multiple comedians doing bits throughout the show, and it could be new and exciting, but I personally love The Oscars having a host.

The Oscars means a lot to me. I have watched the ceremony annually since I was eight, and one of the most exciting aspects of watching The Oscars is seeing how the host will do. Will their jokes land? Will they connect with audiences? Will they be controversial? And those three questions have been answered pretty negatively the past two ceremonies.

Neil Patrick Harris's performance as host was met with mostly negative reviews from critics and audiences. I liked him fine, he didn't knock my socks off like he did when he hosted The Tony's, but I thought overall he was good enough. But I would agree with those who say good enough, isn't, well, good enough. Some of his jokes, even for me, didn't land, and for the majority of viewers, they didn't land at all. His magic trick bit was met with confusion and petty laughs, and his opening music number was pretty much the only part of his gig that people liked.

And the numbers were down from the year before... Not good.

And then the most recent Oscars, which took place 10 months ago, was hosted by Chris Rock, and it was met with mixed reviews. Some thought his opening monologue was hilarious and potent, and some thought that was enough, but his bit with Stacy Dash, Suge Night and the Asian American children was met with negative reactions, with that last one provoking backlash from various journalists, viewers at home, and celebrities.

So, if The Academy are still figuring out who they want to host the most prestigious awards show around, I get it. Take your time, interview different comedians, actors, etc. And choose wisely. The previous Oscars was the least watched Oscars in eight years... Yup, you guessed it, not good. ABC wants 40M+ viewers domestically, and hundreds of million viewers worldwide, and they didn't get that back in February, or the February before.

But they can get it again, and in my opinion, it all depends on who you get to host.

I would watch The Oscars without a host. I'd watch The Oscars if a freaking ant hosted, but I am not the average movie fan, I am what some call, a Cinephile. The Academy doesn't need to market to me, or many of you reading this, they need to market to the average joe.

I have given myself the task of narrowing it down to 5 people, who I think could do a great job at hosting, and bringing in high numbers. So, without further ado...


Ellen has hosted twice before. As I said, she hosted in 2014 to mostly positive reviews, and she brought in 40M+ viewers, and that is what ABC and The Academy care about the most. She has a huge audience, her daytime talk show gets consistently great numbers, and her YouTube channel has 10M+ subscribers, and the videos on there gets 1M+ views consistently.

She is an American treasure, everyone likes Ellen, and she would make the 89th Oscars a pleasant watch, and would get big numbers, and restore the Oscars as a global event.

The only reason she is last on my list is that, if the news came out Ellen was hosting, it would feel, to me, anti-climactic. I love Ellen, I watch her show, have watched her stand-up and laughed my ass off, and I admire her as a person, and also love her as Dory... But it has been a long wait to find out, and having the host be someone who has hosted before, albeit well, would feel, well, stale.

But the masses, I think, would be pretty happy about it.


Lin Manuel-Miranda has had a rollercoaster 18 months. He has gone from very well respected playwright to a beloved superstar. He has won multiple Tony's, won a Grammy, wrote the music for the Disney smash hit Moana, and is himself getting Oscar buzz for said music.

He has gained a loyal following who would definitely tune in to watch the Hamilton star dance, rap and make the audience laugh, which he proved he can do on SNL a few weeks ago.

The only reason he isn't a little higher up, is because, I don't know how well known he is, outside of the Hollywood bubble. Do the folks in Alaska care about Lin Manuel Miranda? Do countries like France or Germany wanna tune in to watch some guy who made a musical that they haven't seen yet host The Oscars, or do they want to see someone with more star power, like Ellen.

No matter what, I think he'd do a great job.


It is an off the wall idea, that might be so crazy, it could work!

The Hollywood power couple (which is exactly what they are) have been respected actors and filmmakers for 20 years now, and they have proven on various occasions, that they know how to make fun out of themselves, whether it's on The Jimmy Kimmel Show, or in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, they know how to make audiences laugh at them, and with them.

They are loved within the industry, and would definitely provide the jokes, and the commentary, as both of them are highly involved in politics, and everyone knows The Oscars is also a platform for stars to preach to audiences about political causes, which can be a good thing and a bad thing.

I have always been in the camp of it is a good thing for stars to use their celebrity to shed light on important issues, but some feel that The Oscars should be a fun, light hearted show that provides laughs and celebrates film. So perhaps some would feel that if Damon and Affleck hosted, they might go a little overboard with the political commentary, but I am sure if Cheryl Boone Isaacs (the president of the Academy) told them to reign it in a bit, they would listen.


Kimmel just hosted the Emmy's to rapturous praise. The numbers were lower, but audiences and critics named him one of the best Emmy hosts ever, and The Oscars, I'm sure, would like that sort of headline the morning after!

Another positive is that Kimmel hosts his late night talk show The Jimmy Kimmel Show Live, on ABC, the network that broadcasts not only The Emmy's, but also The Oscars, so if they wanna keep it in the family, Kimmel is the guy.

The only negative is, that, like Ellen, it would feel a little anti-climactic, because of the fact that he just hosted The Emmy's, which is basically The Oscars of television. But I am sure he would provide the belly laughs, and controversy, but not too much, a happy medium.


He is the highest paid comedian in the world for a reason.

He is beloved by just about everyone, and perhaps some would say he is a little overexposed, starring in four or five films a year, continuing his stand up career and making fashion commercials with David Beckham, but the guy has a huge fanbase, and is, when he really wants to be, very, very funny.

He would bring in high numbers, provide a lot of laughs, and would definitely, bring out The Rock!

Sound off below, and tell us who you want to see host The Oscars and what you thought of my choices.  And be sure to watch the 89th Annual Academy Awards on February 26, 2017. My name is Sammy, and you are reading Merc With A Movie Blog!

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