"I think that's too hard," Fey tells The Times over the phone, when asked if she'd take the job. "Too many dresses to try on."
Really, Tina? You're going to go with the whole degree-of-difficulty dress thing as your primary reason to dodge the high-profile opportunity to flaunt your charm and talents in front of an audience of tens of millions of people?
"Hey, don't underestimate how exhausting it is to try on 85 dresses — and 79 of them are humiliating," Fey says, laughing.
Of course, that's not why Fey, who memorably co-hosted the
It does seem risky. While other awards shows — the Tonys, the Globes and the Emmys, notably — have enjoyed a solid string of successes in recent years (Neil Patrick Harris,
The show's rigid format — 24 award categories, 24 speeches, 24 opportunities to be played off the stage (unless you're an A-lister) — restrict the impact a host can have on the evening. Factor in the audience's jangled nerve endings — spending eight hours prepping to brave the red carpet gantlet will do that to you — and you have the makings of a long evening.
As 2009 Oscar host
"It's a really difficult room," Fey adds. "High levels of stress are shooting out of just about everyone there. The Golden Globes are less pressure. It's like an exhibition game for the real season."
MacFarlane announced Monday, via Twitter, that he wouldn't be suiting up in his tux next year. "Traumatized critics exhale: I'm unable to do the Oscars again," he wrote. "Tried to make it work schedule-wise, but I need sleep. However, I highly recommend the job, as [Craig] Zadan and [Neil] Meron are two of the most talented producers in the business. My suggestion for host is
So, now we know two things: 1) Producers Meron and Zadan asked MacFarlane to return, satisfied with the show's improved ratings and the job he did. And 2) MacFarlane's tweets aren't much funnier than the boob song he performed during the ceremony.
Of course, the reclusive Phoenix, who memorably took all of 17 seconds to accept his best actor award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. in January, isn't a likely candidate, even if the "Walk the Line" star's singing talents dovetail nicely with the producers' love for all things musical. Perhaps after having Catherine Zeta-Jones sing "All That Jazz" and bringing Richard Gere, Renée Zellweger, Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah out to co-present this year, Zadan and Meron might want to dip into their beloved "Chicago" pool once again and let the Queen reign solo.
Or maybe they won't limit themselves to projects they executive produced and try to goose the young demo ratings again by extending an invitation to a song-and-dance man like
What any prospective Oscar host must consider, beyond the time commitment and what Baldwin calls the "chicken feed" pay, is whether the effort is worth all the trouble. The show has defeated talent of all stripes, including great comedians (Jon Stewart,
The prestige associated with hosting will always be alluring, but answering that siren song can lead to trouble. Or, in Franco's case, people wondering, because of his low-energy vibe, whether he spent the evening stoned out of his gourd.
"Here's the hypocritical thing: Leading up to the Oscars, I couldn't hear enough about how, 'Oh, people don't care about the Oscars anymore, it's dead, it's boring, it's at the end of a long awards season, who cares about it?'" Franco griped on "Letterman" after the ceremony. "Well, as soon as you don't host the way they want you to, they suddenly care and they won't shut up about it."