After hosting the 2016 Emmys, Jimmy Kimmel will make his debut as host of the 2017 Academy Awards. In addition to his previous awards show experience, Kimmel has hosted the annual “Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Oscars” special for years.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times; Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times; ABC ; Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
In his second time hosting, Chris Rock addressed the #OscarsSoWhite controversy during the telecast of the 88th Academy Awards on Feb. 28, 2016 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
After multiple stints hosting the Tonys and the Emmys, Neil Patrick Harris was a natural choice to lead the festivities at the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
The Chairman of the Board hosted the 35th Oscar telecast in 1963 and co-hosted the 47th awards with Hope, Sammy Davis Jr. and Shirley MacLaine in 1975. He almost didn’t make it to his first hosting gig in 1963 after forgetting his parking sticker and getting turned away by parking lot security.(William P. Gottlieb / © William P. Gottlieb. Library o)
If not Seth, who?
With Seth MacFarlane’s tweeted announcement that he would not be returning as host of the Academy Awards after his controversial but highly rated turn earlier this year, the question becomes “Who next?” Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will have quite a challenge. The motion picture academy continues to strive for a certain respectful solemnity with a fizzy nod to old-school Hollywood glamour while also needing to attract younger viewers, grooming the next generation of Oscar watchers.
When the academy found itself in a pinch after the fallout of its Brett Ratner situation in late 2011, it turned to the tried and true with Billy Crystal. Yet hanging over that entire show was the shadow of Ratner’s planned host, Eddie Murphy. Would he have hit the stage in the red leather suit from his “Delirious” concert film? Perhaps we could still find out.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler received universal acclaim for their job hosting the most recent Golden Globes, with many calls for them to take the reins of the Oscar show. Though Fey has already been reported as saying there is “no way” she would host the show, this is Hollywood. There is a way.
Young multi-hyphenate star Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems a natural fit, as his spirited dance number during last year’s broadcast could now even be seen as an audition for the job. A younger star might typically be paired with someone else to ease the burden -- shades of the star-crossed James Franco-Anne Hathaway pairing -- so who could match Gordon-Levitt for his energy level and song-and-dance-man skills?
How about Justin Timberlake, the musician who has strongly courted Hollywood? Or even Channing Tatum, who is both an acknowledged friend of Gordon-Levitt and who also gave an unexpectedly classy turn dancing with Charlize Theron at this year’s ceremony. Perhaps throw Emma Stone into the mix as well?
And what about giving Franco another try? Could it be any worse? As Zach Galifianakis recently put it in an interview with Franco as part of his “Between Two Ferns” Web show, “I wouldn’t consider what you did at the Oscars hosting the Oscars.”
How about Galifianakis? Paired with his “Hangover” costar (and Oscar nominee) Bradley Cooper? Rotating in Cooper’s “Silver Linings Playbook” costar (and Oscar winner) Jennifer Lawrence?
Hey, this fantasy league play is fun! But having the task of Zadan and Meron to make it a reality likely less so. (For the record, I’m voting Team JGL.)
Follow Mark Olsen on Twitter: @IndieFocus