I have watched the Oscars since I was a kid, with my mother as a guide. She was the one who taught me how a movie wins because other nominees split the vote, and explained why certain people win or not regardless of how well they acted in a particular movie (e.g. this man is very old and this is his last chance; people thought this woman should have won many times so this is a make-good award, etc.).
And I have seen many hosts — Billy Crystal being the best, of course. Well, having Neil Patrick Harris disrobe in front of billions just to get a laugh made me think the Oscars jumped the proverbial shark this year. Harris already did the Tonys and had to step it up for the Oscars, but what’s left for the Grammys or Emmys? So here are my humble suggestions for next year and beyond, regarding future hosts.
The Duo Oscars
Most Oscars are presented by a man and a woman who have nothing to do with each other. Well, in these Oscars, presenters would be duos — male/female, male/male or female/female— who have acted in at least three movies together. Tribute could be paid to bygone onscreen couples or duos. And for the “In Memoriam” section, the presenters would be those like Dan Aykroyd and Jerry Lewis who have survived their long-time showbiz partners. Musical numbers would be performed by well-established duo acts like Hall & Oates or Simon & Garfunkel.
The Family Oscars
Taking further the idea that presenters should be somehow connected, in this version, the presenters would be actually related! They would be parent-child pairs, like Kirk and Michael Douglas, or siblings, like Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal … or husband-wife couples, like Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. The musical numbers would be performed by family acts like Heart or Van Halen.
The “Stop Confusing Us”
Certain performers are confused by the general public. Well, here’s Hollywood’s chance to set us straight. One presenter pair would be Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton. Another could be Emma Watson and Emma Stone, or Ellen Burstyn and Ellen Barkin. And not just those whose names are confused, but look-alikes, or act-alike pairs like Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnon. Music would be performed by other confuse-ables, like a duet with Jeff Daniels and Jeff Bridges.
The Stupid Star
Remember the Stupid Pet Tricks shtick on David Letterman? So for the Oscars, have the presenters come out and show us some non-acting-related stunt they can do, like juggle or yodel. When Jack Palance did one-armed push-ups, it made Oscar history. Also, the Golden Globes have been stealing the Oscar spotlight with their irreverence, so this could be Oscar’s way to corner the viral-video market for a week instead. So many actors have side bands, it would be easy to find five to do the musical numbers.
The Star Trek Oscars
William Shatner and Patrick Stewart, of course, would co-host. The casts of all five series would serve as presenters. And, despite what Shatner said on Saturday Night Live — “It’s just a TV show!”— Star Trek is also one of the longest-running film franchises ever. So those who have been in any of the 12 Star Trek films, going back to 1979, could also present. (I suppose a Star Wars Oscars would also be possible, if they could find enough women in those casts to present).
The Kevin Oscars
The hosts should be Kevin Kline and Kevin Spacey, since they can both sing and the opener requires that. Presenters should include: Kevin Costner, Kevin Pollack, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Nealon, Kevin “Hercules” Sorbo … with Kevin McHale being one of the musical performers (he’s Artie from Glee). Every time a Kevin comes out to present, Spacey and Kline should interrupt him with warm greetings of “Kevin!” and walk over to for a round of introductions: “Hi! I’m Kevin.” “Kevin, this is Kevin.” “Nice to meet you, Kevin; have you met Kevin?”
The Eddie Murphy
Murphy was supposed to host in 2012 but stepped down because of something impolite a friend of his, who was supposed to produce the show, said. But Eddie should be asked again. There was nothing he did, personally, to disqualify him, and he should not be punished for sticking with a friend. Oscar should ask him to host again.
Other solid hosts could be: Jay Leno (let loose, he can be biting), Jim Carrey, Sandra Bernhard, Jimmy Fallon, Tiny Fey, Seth Meyers, Amy Schumer, Patton Oswalt, Kristen Wiig, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell … or Mel Brooks, why not. Hey, he’s only 88!