These 10 Oscar Hosts Made the Extremely Long Ceremony More Bearable

These 10 Oscar Hosts Made the Extremely Long Ceremony More Bearable

For a couple of years now the Oscars has gone without a host. While the show has still managed to run smoothly thanks to a mix of A-list presenters, it’s hard to deny things feel a little strange without someone front and centre. Hosting the Academy Awards is always a notorious gig, but some have managed to truly smash the role over the years.

Let’s take a look back at a few of the most memorable moments, shall we?

Who has hosted the Oscars?

When the first Academy Awards ceremony took place in Hollywood in 1929 it was overseen by two hosts. Douglas Fairbanks and William C. DeMille set the precedent and since then the Oscars hosting gig has built itself a difficult reputation.

Past years have shown that it’s not as easy as throwing any old comedian up on stage, with some big names failing to meet expectations. Over 70 different people have hosted the awards throughout the years – some even came back for multiple tries – but not all of them have been great.

Having a bad host can sure help those three (plus) hours drag on even longer, so with that in mind, here are some of the Oscar hosts who did it well.

Top 10 funniest Oscar hosts

Bob Hope – Oscar host (19 years)

The multitalented actor and comedian Bob Hope became synonymous with the Academy Awards having hosted it a whopping 19 times.

Hope’s first hosting gig was in 1940 and in his subsequent turns at the role he fronted the Oscars during its first live broadcast and the ceremony’s transition into colour in 1966.

The producers loved him, the audience loved him and Hope clearly loved hosting.

Whoopi Goldberg – Oscar host (1994, 1996, 1999, 2002)

Whoopi Goldberg has been a pioneer in so many ways, and that includes at the Oscars where she became the first Black woman to host the show solo in 1994. She did such a great job that the Academy asked her back three more times.

Goldberg told Variety in an interview that she didn’t care what the critics thought of her performance “as long as people had a good time”. After multiple excellent gags and on-point jokes, it would have been hard not to have a good time while Goldberg was hosting.

Billy Crystal – Oscar host (9 years)

Behind Bob Hope, Billy Crystal holds the record for most Oscars ceremonies hosted with nine turns at the job.

Crystal never failed to delight with his hosting of the Academy Awards. Having captured the hearts of audiences with his roles in iconic films like When Harry Met Sally and Monsters Inc., Crystal was able to effortlessly translate his comedic talents and personality into an on-stage delight at the Oscars.

He’s never failed to give new tactics a try, from impromptu song and dance numbers to film history montages and interesting outfits – his Oscars ceremonies are anything but boring.

Jimmy Kimmel – Oscar host (2017-2018)

Talk show hosts have plenty of experience emceeing events. I mean, they do it every night, so that’s probably why so many of Hollywood’s comedic hosts have been put forward for the Academy Awards. Not all of them nail it, but Jimmy Kimmel managed to survive the night and even exceed expectations.

Notably, Kimmel was the last host the Oscars has had since 2018. During his two back-to-back years, Kimmel had to navigate the tricky politics of the time that included the Me Too movement and the gender pay gap in the film industry.

His ability to bring attention to important issues whilst also keeping the comedy in the room is just one of the reasons he’s one of the best Oscars hosts.

Ellen DeGeneres – Oscar host (2007, 2014)

She may not be a popular personality any longer, but Ellen DeGeneres did manage to bring plenty of laughter to her Oscars hosting gigs. DeGeneres first hosted the ceremony in 2007 and then returned for another round in 2014.

Her most recent gig remained memorable as one of the funnier and more entertaining awards shows. At the 2014 ceremony, DeGeneres won over the crowd by ordering pizzas, poking fun at celebrities, and by orchestrating the famous Oscars selfie that became the most retweeted Tweet of all time for a minute there.

Hugh Jackman – Oscar host (2009)

Hugh Jackman was an interesting choice as host in 2009 but no one can deny he is a great showman (some might even say the greatest).

Jackman’s approach turned the Oscars into a singing, dancing upbeat show that could rival even the Tony’s. Thankfully, he also has a sense of humour and an Australian accent, which both managed to boost his Oscar’s ceremony into the good bracket.

Steve Martin – Oscar host (2001, 2003, 2010)

Steve Martin has had three turns at hosting the Oscars. While his duo with Alec Baldwin didn’t exactly move the needle, Martin’s solo turns as host at the awards were widely well-received.

Martin’s kind and warm sense of humour made him likeable to both the crowd and the audience watching at home. Rumours are he could be returning to host again in 2022. If that’s true we’re in for another fun ceremony.

Chris Rock – Oscar host (2005, 2016)

Actor and comedian Chris Rock has hosted the Academy Awards twice over his career, but his performance at the 88th Academy Awards really stood out.

The Oscars has been grappling with the ‘Oscars So White’ controversy for a number of years now and it was definitely at the forefront of the ceremony in 2016 where zero actors of colour received nominations.

Rock became a voice for frustrated communities at the awards that year and while not all the jokes were appropriate, he still added to the call to action that the Academy needed.

Johnny Carson – Oscar host (1979-1982, 1984)

Another instance of a late-night talk show host taking a run at the Oscars came with Johnny Carson, who steered the awards ceremony five times.

Carson was long considered the King of late-night TV and managed to bring his charisma and effortless showmanship to the awards show every time he hosted. His efforts earned him what some outlets called the “gold standard” of Oscars hosts.

Jon Stewart – Oscar host (2006, 2008)

Daily Show host Jon Stewart took on an even bigger show in 2006, but after a poorly received ceremony, he built upon what he learned and returned with one of the best Oscars shows in 2008. His jokes were better, he targeted the issues of the time (namely, the Writers Guild Strike) and when that was over he let the show basically run itself.

Who is hosting the Oscars in 2022?

For three years now the Academy Awards have gone without a host. While this hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing, having a host is kind of a tradition at the Oscars, and it’s one the Academy is looking to return to.

Early in the year rumours circulated that the Academy was looking for not just one host, but three.

This turned out to be true after Good Morning America revealed the hosting lineup to be a trio of incredible women. Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall have all been confirmed to host the 2022 Oscars.

Can they make the infamously long show as bearable as their predecessors? We’ll find out in March.

If you’re looking for more information on the 2022 Oscars ceremony or the potential nominees we’ve rounded up all the important details for you.


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