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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 10, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Hugh Jackman: The Oscar host with the most?

So, guess how many different hosts the Oscars have had in the past eight years? I’ll tell you: Seven.
If you start thinking about Oscar hosts, the room gets crowded pretty quickly. Though certain individuals are associated with longtime Oscar stints (Bob Hope in the ’60s, Johnny Carson in the late ’70s/early ’80s, Billy Crystal in the ’90s), the Academy has perpetually changed up its hosts. Until Crystal’s run began, it was common for the ceremony to be hosted by three to five people, and once Crystal decided he had other things to do, it’s been a string of solo hosts brought on once or twice, then not invited back. Some of them had some flair — Steve Martin hosted two clever Oscarcasts (remember his Michael Moore joke?); Ellen DeGeneres was lovably star-struck; Chris Rock was fearlessly funny — and some of them were David Letterman.
Now, once again, we’re getting a brand-new Oscar host: Australian movie (and Broadway) star Hugh Jackman. The show producers are being uncharacteristically quiet about the ceremony’s details this year, refusing to disclose this year’s celebrity guests and hinting at the Oscar luncheon at big changes. Hmm. Seems like every year we hear a lot of talk about how wildly different the ceremony’s going to be, and every year it’s pretty much the same, except for a few short-lived changes. (Remember that year many of the lesser-award nominees were paraded on stage in a herd, to save the time of a winner coming from his/her seat? And Scarlett Johansson presenting an award from up in the balcony, like Eva Peron?)
Jackman, who’s hosted the Tony Awards a few times, is a debonair fellow at ease in front of a crowd. But is he funny? Will he sing and dance (rumor is that he will, in a number staged by Baz Luhrmann), and if he does, how will the show possibly be over in three hours? Here he is at the Tonys, to give you a taste. Let’s just assume the hair is for a role, and not hold it against him.

So, Jackman as host: Good idea? Bad idea? Which Oscar host from the past do you most miss? (I’m a Crystal fan, myself, but liked Martin too.)

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