Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are an engaged couple vacationing in Paris in Woody Allen's comedy "Midnight in Paris." Courtesy Roger Arpajou | Sony Pictures Classics
And the Academy Award for host goes to ... Billy Crystal

Oscar hosts » And there’s little debate about this distinction, either: James Franco was clearly the worst Academy Awards emcee of the past 25 years.

First Published Feb 22 2012 12:19 pm • Last Updated Oct 03 2012 05:33 pm

Eddie Murphy drops out as host of the Oscars and Billy Crystal replaces him?

That’s sort of like losing a rookie and replacing him with an all-star. Crystal, who will host the Academy Awards for the ninth time on Sunday, is arguably the best host of the past quarter-century.

At a glance

And the Academy Award goes to...

The 84th Academy Awards broadcast from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre and hosted by Billy Crystal will be aired Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on ABC/Channel 4.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Here, from best to worst, is a ranking of Oscar hosts from 1987-2011:

1. Billy Crystal » (1990-93, 1997-98, 2000, 2004) For his opening bits alone, Crystal is up there with Oscar-cast legends such as Bob Hope and Johnny Carson. Billy in the movies? And the song-and-dance routines? Magic.

2. Steve Martin » (2001, 2003 and, with Alec Baldwin, 2010) His smooth, deadpan delivery was always a winner, and he hit the right balance between mocking himself and mocking the rest of Hollywood. "Hosting the Oscars is like making love to a beautiful woman," he said in 2001. "It’s something I only get to do when Billy Crystal is out of town."

3. Jon Stewart » (2006, 2008) Quick on his feet, topical and unafraid to offend the stars, Stewart may have entertained viewers more than the Academy. And he mixed politics and entertainment. "I do have some sad news to report," he said in 2006. "Björk couldn’t be here tonight. She was trying on her Oscar dress and Dick Cheney shot her."

4. Chris Rock » (2005) The Oscars were looking for "edge." Why didn’t he return? Maybe because he insulted a bunch of stars by name, such as when he said, "The only acting you ever see at the Oscars is when people are acting like they’re not mad they lost. I remember one year when Halle Berry won the Oscar, Nicole Kidman was smiling so wide she should’ve won an Emmy at the Oscars for her great performance."

5. David Letterman » (1995) Contrary to popular belief, Letterman wasn’t the worst Oscar host in history. If you go back and watch his performance, he did a pretty decent job. But expectations were too high, and the "Oprah, Uma" thing got all the ink. But he had some great lines. Such as his reference to the film "Eat Drink Man Woman": "Coincidentally, as I understand it, this is also how Arnold Schwarzenegger asked Maria Shriver out on their first date."

6. Ellen DeGeneres » (2007) It was a kinder, gentler Oscars. DeGeneres did try going out into the audience, which was brave, and occasionally worked. Such as when she had Steven Spielberg take a picture of her and Clint Eastwood — and made him do it again because he messed up.

7. Hugh Jackman » (2009) An affable guy who made little impression. His opening number — supposedly toned down because of the recession — wasn’t a big success.

story continues below
story continues below

8. Whoopi Goldberg » (1994, 1996, 1999, 2002) The first woman to host solo, which she went on to do four times. But her performances were more notable for her costumes than her jokes, which often fell flat. "Y’all better cut me some slack because we’re going to be here a while," she said in 2002.

9. Chevy Chase » (1987, with Goldie Hawn and Paul Hogan; 1988) He started out great — his first line in 1988 was, "Good evening, Hollywood phonies" — but overall Chase acted too cool for school.

10. James Franco » (2011, with Anne Hathaway) There was no Oscar host in 1989, which is pretty much what the Academy got with Franco last year. At best, he looked bored, uninterested and completely lacking in energy. Hathaway may be the unluckiest Oscar host, forced to try to make up for her pathetic partner.

spierce@sltrib.com; facebook.com/nowsaltlake

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.