It seems like every year, the Academy Awards telecast arrives with great fanfare and huge anticipation, only to be followed by Monday morning reviews proclaiming that the host, regardless of who they were that year, absolutely sucked. Hosting the Oscars is a tough gig, and not just because it’s a show that usually runs well over three hours and by the end of the night you’re just hoping Jack Nicholson hasn’t fallen asleep in his chair. The Oscars are big TV business now, one of the most-watched broadcasts of the year, and the right host can keep viewers from changing the channel all the way into hour four.
So, what’s in store for 2016? Well, this week we found out that former Fox executive David Hill and director/producer Reginald Hudlin (whose directing credits include Boomerang, and whose producing credits include Django Unchained) will produce the show this year, marking the first time in three years a new producing team has stepped up to helm the telecast. Producing the Oscars is also a tough gig, and in between approving sets, pacing the show and booking presenters, Hill and Hudlin also have to hire an all-important host. So, who are they thinking about? We don’t know, but it seems they do want to try the two hosts thing again.
“There will be multiple hosts for sure – there will be two,” Hill said, adding: “Two is better than one. Just imagine, you’re in there. One of your hosts drops dead from cardiac arrest. What do you do? Second host goes on! And you keep going. … Note to self. Check out their heart rates.”
(For what it’s worth, Hudlin later added that the multiple host idea was just “brainstorming” at this point.)
Hill’s jokes about heart attacks on live TV aside, the Oscars ceremony has often relied on multiple hosts in the past. In fact, for much of the ‘50s and the '70s it was kinda standard procedure. My personal favorite host lineup ever is 1958’s, which featured Bob Hope (probably the best to ever hold the job), David Niven, Jack Lemmon, Jimmy Stewart, Rosalind Russell, and Donald Duck. Since 1988, though, there have only been two duos taking on hosting duty. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin got the gig in 2010 and did okay, and then the very next year the infamous James Franco/Anne Hathaway trainwreck happened, leading the Academy to fall back on former mainstay host Billy Crystal in 2012.
You’d think the producers would be shy about trying another duo just a few years removed from the Franco/Hathaway debacle, but according to Entertainment Weekly’s report, the producers want two hosts because they’ve already got a solid, familiar duo in mind.
So, who could they be thinking about? Well, there’s always Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who killed at the Golden Globes, but they’ve said in the past that they’re not interested. Then, of course, there’s Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Key & Peele, who could put an exclamation point on their TV run with this hosting gig. Who else? Well, there are plenty of possibilities, but why not go for Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer? They seem to be getting along lately. Personally, I’m really pulling for a Key and Peele-hosted ceremony, if only so they can run through the aisles in character as the overenthusiastic valets.