Tonight Neil Patrick Harris will attempt to win over the cream of Hollywood as he hosts this year’s Oscars ceremony.
It’s a tough gig by anyone’s standards and previous hosts have floundered and left the Hollywood crowd cold. Who can forget James Franco’s detached style in 2011 that made him seem more like one of his stoned characters from The Pineapple Express or Your Highness? (He denied he was stoned later.)
Oscars hosts through the ages
Oscars hosts through the ages
1/11 Neil Patrick Harris
Harris made jokes about the lack of diversity at the 2015 Oscars including welcoming 'Hollywood's best and whitest...I mean brightest'.
2/11 Ellen DeGeneres
The talk show host has fronted the Academy Awards twice, first in 2007 and then in 2014. She is generally viewed as a 'safe pair of hands' for the show and was brought back following Seth Macfarlane's controversial turn. She was also responsible last year for the first Oscars 'selfie'.
3/11 Seth MacFarlane
The Family Guy creator was one of the most controversial hosts in the history of the Academy. His song about 'boobs' hit a bum note in some areas of the establishment and he managed to offend just about everybody.
4/11 James Franco and Anne Hathaway
Co-presenters James Franco and Anne Hathaway decided to swap clothes in just one of many skits during the 83rd annual Academy Awards. Sadly for them the pairing was not a critical success with Franco accused of looking a bit vacant while Hathaway struggled manically to keep things ticking over.
5/11 Billy Crystal
After Bob Hope, the record for hosting the most Oscars ceremonies is held by Crystal. His rein over the Academy spans the 90s but he most recently pitched up to host in 2012. The New Yorker also famously provided the voice for Mike Wazowski in Monsters Inc.
6/11 Steve Martin and Alex Baldwin
These two might have had chemistry as rivals for Meryl Streep's affections in It's Complicated, but as Oscars hosts things were a little bit awkward. The pair's turn in 2010 produced some friendly joshing with the actors in the audience, but their thunder was well and truly stolen by this year's host Neil Patrick Harris opening the show in fine tradition with an elaborate musical number.
7/11 Steve Martin
The beloved American comic and bluegrass musician hosted the Oscars solo in 2001 and 2003. The fact that he was invited back again to co-host with Baldwin means things went pretty well.
AFP PHOTO/TIMOTHY A. CLARY
8/11 Jon Stewart
Perhaps surprisingly the deadpan American TV personality was dismissed by some critics as a 'pretty conventional' Oscars host. However, Variety was more complimentary, saying he 'earned his keep by maintaining a playful, irreverent tone throughout the night.'
9/11 Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show host and comic actor hosted the Academy Awards five times in the 1960s and '70s. He is cited as a major influence by David Letterman and set the blueprint for American talk show host styles for decades.
10/11 Jack Lemmon
Having famously starred as Marilyn Monroe's cross-dressing beau in Some Like It Hot, Lemmon was both a four time Oscars host and recipient of the Best Actor gong for 1972 film Save the Tiger. He also took the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1956 for Mister Roberts, becoming one of the few actors to win both (others include Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Spacey, and Denzel Washington).
11/11 Whoopi Goldberg
The actress and TV personality was only the second woman in the history of the Academy to win an Oscar. The Ghost and Sister Act star was later invited to host the show and was such a hit she was invited back three more times.
Then there was Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s disastrous turn on the podium two years ago, where he insulted many views with jokes about women and Jewish people. Needless to say it didn't go well.
Even legendary talkshow host David Letterman failed to win any plaudits. His late-night humour didn’t work for the crowd in 1995 and has gone down as one of the worst in the 80-plus years of Oscar history. Ouch.
Hosting the Oscars is seen as something of a poisoned chalice and it may well be even harder for Harris this year after Ellen DeGeneres’ fun and fab performance last year.
From ordering in pizza to that incredible selfie, it’s going to be pretty hard to top DeGeneres but Harris will give it a fair crack.Reuse content