Oscars hosts rated: From Jimmy Kimmel to Ellen to Chris Rock


Previous Oscars hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Rock facing the Oscars statuetteImage copyright
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Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Rock have all hosted the Oscars in recent years

It’s a job that’s 91-years-old. Only thirteen people have done it since the year 2000. The shift lasts around three or four hours, but this year no-one’s doing it.

Hosting the Oscars is a tough gig.

Kevin Hart was due to do it this year but has quit over homophobic tweets he sent ten years ago.

But who’s done the best job of fronting the ceremony recently?

We’ve looked at the Academy Awards from the last 10 years and got Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s film critic, Ali Plumb, to give the hosts a rating out of 5 stars, movie review-style.

We’ll also jog all of our memories by reminding you which film won best picture in each year.

2009 – Hugh Jackman

Zac Efron, Beyonce and Amanda Seyfried gave Hugh Jackman some serious singing firepower at the OscarsImage copyright
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Beyonce, Zac Efron (left) and Amanda Seyfried gave Hugh Jackman some serious singing firepower in a big musical number

Best picture was… Slumdog Millionaire

Big Hugh is a versatile man. Action, romance, drama, singing and dancing, he can do it all.

“I just think Hugh Jackman’s ferocious enthusiasm screamed off the screen,” Ali says.

Hugh’s big musical medley with Beyonce had the crowd on their feet. A BBC article from the time noted that Hugh didn’t get much time on stage himself, but Ali says he liked that.

“For me as a viewer, if you’re not a comedian, I’d rather you just set things up and got on with it.

“Hugh isn’t Mr Jokes, so I was very happy with him doing the intro and getting cracking. The Oscars have a problem with speed and with frankly boredom, so the quicker they can do it, the better.”

Ali’s rating: 4 stars

2010 – Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin

Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin host the OscarsImage copyright
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The live audience was completely 3D for the first time at the 2010 Oscars

Best picture was… The Hurt Locker

You might know Alec Baldwin best for appearing in the recent Mission: Impossible films or for playing Donald Trump in Saturday Night Live.

He and comic actor Steve Martin aren’t a classic double act.

“I thought their delivery was game and enjoyable, but the jokes were a little bit flat,” Ali says.

“One for example is that they go ‘Oh look, it’s the director of Avatar, James Cameron. We’re both going to put on our 3D glasses now.’ Haha, grandad.

“They’re both amazing, but also – a bit fresher than this please.”

Ali’s rating: 3 stars

2011 – James Franco and Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway and James Franco host the OscarsImage copyright
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Anne Hathaway and James Franco got all dressed up at the 2011 Oscars

Best picture was… The King’s Speech

Sometimes one host just isn’t enough, and the Academy goes for two. In Ali’s view, it didn’t work.

“It was a train wreck from the very beginning.

“The audience didn’t like it, both at home and in the Kodak Theatre. It felt weird, it was weird. Never again. Never, never again. Even just thinking about it, I feel my skin crawling.”

Ali’s rating: 1 star

2012 – Billy Crystal

Billy Crystal hosting the OscarsImage copyright
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Billy Crystal goes for it while hosting the Academy Awards for the ninth time

Best picture was… The Artist

You might know him best as the voice of Mike Wazowski in Monsters Inc. He’s an acting and comedy legend and this was his ninth time hosting the Oscars.

“Billy Crystal is one of those people that the Academy press the red button for whenever they really need someone last-minute,” Ali says.

“It was OK.”

Ali’s rating: 3 stars

2013 – Seth MacFarlane

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth MacFarlane and Daniel Radcliffe sing on stage at the OscarsImage copyright
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Seth MacFarlane (centre) sings on stage with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe

Best picture was… Argo

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane hosted for the first time in 2013, bringing his trademark crude humour to the role.

Seth sang a song about female nudity in films called We Saw Your Boobs, which Ali says was “icky” and made him feel uncomfortable.

A lot’s changed since 2013, and following the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the MeToo movement, there’s no chance that sort of song could be performed at the Oscars now.

Overall, he thinks Seth was “a bit of a flop” as a host.

Ali’s rating: 2 stars

2014 – Ellen

Bradley Cooper takes a selfie with lots of famous faces at the Oscars in 2014Image copyright

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One of the most famous selfies ever taken

Best picture was… 12 Years a Slave

This was Ellen’s second time hosting and Ali says it was “really enjoyable”.

“It was witty, it was very inside Hollywood. It was clever and confident and snappy and she’s just such an assured presence.”

Ellen did things you’d do at home with friends: taking group selfies, ordering pizza. She’s just like you and me.

Except she eats pizza with Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt – and her selfie with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Lupita Nyong’o and a load of other stars became the most retweeted image in Twitter’s history.

Like I said, just like you and me.

Ali’s rating: 4 stars

2015 – Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris hosting the OscarsImage copyright
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Was he good, or was he just pants?

Best picture was… Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

NPH, as some fans call him, is probably best known as Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother.

Ali says Neil is remembered for a Birdman skit where he appeared on stage in his underwear, but points out “if you’ve forgotten that best picture winner, it will be a very weird thing to see on your screen”.

He says Neil was “pretty good” but “not great”, adding “he’s better than Hugh, but he’s not Ellen”.

Ali’s rating: 3.5 stars

2016 – Chris Rock

Chris Rock hosting the OscarsImage copyright
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Chris Rock was never going to shy away from talking about #OscarsSoWhite at 2016’s awards

Best picture was… Spotlight

This was the main year of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, because for the second year in a row, only white actors and actresses were nominated for the top awards.

Chris Rock was hosting, and there was no way he was going to avoid the issue.

“Chris Rock is divisive because either you really enjoy his edgy, sparky, difficult humour or it just doesn’t work for you,” Ali says.

“I personally really liked it… I could feel people not connecting with him perhaps as much as they should have.

“He’s not for everyone, but I did think he was pretty brilliant.”

Ali’s rating: 4 stars

2017: Jimmy Kimmel

Warren Beatty, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz and Jimmy Kimmel on stage at the OscarsImage copyright
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La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz (holding the Oscar at the front) reveals his film has been awarded best picture by mistake

Best picture was… Moonlight

Probably the most memorable Oscars of recent years, all because of a BIG mix-up with an envelope.

La La Land was awarded best picture by mistake, when the real winner was Moonlight. Awkward.

“Honestly, all I can remember is the big cock-up, so whether he was good or bad is irrelevant. It’s honestly got to be a one star. No offence to you Jimmy.”

Ali’s rating: 1 star

2018 – Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel stands next to a giant Oscars statueImage copyright
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Best picture was… The Shape of Water

“It was just a bit meh. And you don’t want meh,” Ali says.

“He should be better than this. He’s very unfortunate. I think what he did in 2017 was actually pretty good until what happened. And it’s not fair that he felt almost compelled to come back for 2018.”

Ali’s rating: 2 stars

Who does Ali think should host the Oscars?

“Will Smith. He’d be really good fun. He could really bang the drum for #OscarsSoWhite if he wants.

“In fact, I’ve been pitching with Ace (from 1Xtra). We want to have the whole Smith family as the hosts. I want all of them on and I want it to be a big family affair. Eccentric, loveable. Singing, dancing: the lot.”

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