The Oscars are absolutely the biggest night in Hollywood. This is the one night where all the A-list and elite actors, screenwriters, directors, executive producers and more come to toast and acknowledge each other for their grand accomplishments in the past year. It’s entirely fair to say that when you are invited to this event, you’ve officially arrived. And if you end up winning one of the Golden Men, then your career trajectory is altered forever (for the better). Over the last several decades, the choice of the Oscars host has been a very important decision. Some of these decisions have been successful (Billy Crystal, Hugh Jackman, Ellen etc) and some other choices for hosts haven’t worked out so well. Below is a list of 8 of the worst Oscar host choices of all time …
In 2005, Chris Rock hosted the Oscar Awards – and what can we say, it didn’t really go down that well. The funny thing is that whoever hired him should have known exactly what they were going to get. When you hire Chris Rock, you’re not going get a tame, politically correct show – you are going to get an acerbic, caustic, edgy and sometimes disrespectful presenter and that’s exactly what Mr. Rock delivered. It started right when he walked on stage to a standing ovation, and he responded to the applause by saying, “All right! Sit you’re asses down!” He then continued his risqué comedic barrage by later taking a shot at Jude Law. The actor Sean Penn didn’t take kindly to this barb and used his time to sing the praises of Mr. Law while he was on stage. Of course, he was never called back to host again, but if you know and love Chris Rock, you certainly enjoyed the show. This was one of those situations where they invited a wolf to the party and expected a cute Chihuahua to show up.
James Franco/Anne Hathaway:
In 2011, the organizers of the Oscars were trying to add more of a youthful feel to the event. They thought the demographics of the viewers was skewing a little too much to the AARP crowd. So to counteract this, they had the brilliant idea of using two of the young promising stars on the scene Anne Hathaway and James Franco to host the show that year. Unfortunately this strategy completely backfired on them. James Franco was pretty much a no-show the entire night. Yes, he was physically there, but he was so listless and catatonic to the point that people thought he might have been high the whole night. Hathaway was the exact opposite – she was overflowing with ebullience and effervescence to the point of annoyance. It’s fair to say that this is an experiment that the Oscars won’t be repeating anytime soon.
Seth MacFarlane the creator of Family Guy, American Dad and the irreverent movie Ted was somehow asked to host the Oscar awards in 2013. Now if you’re familiar with any of his aforementioned work, then you already know that he has a very risqué, crass and “low taste” brand of humor. But somehow, this didn’t stop him from getting booked for the gig. Everyone knew what kind of evening it was going to be when the opening song of the evening was about actresses’ breasts. But the low point of the evening was when he made an awful joke about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. He said the following, “Despite the excellent work of Daniel Day-Lewis and others who have portrayed the 16th president, John Wilkes Booth remains the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head.” Needless to say, he will not be invited back to host again next year. For fans of his humor, you can see the sequel to his Ted movie coming out next year.
For the most part, everyone loves animated Disney characters. But there is also some truth to the saying that there is a time and a place for everything. In the 1957 Oscars, the organizers tried to get a little too cute – they figured that it wasn’t enough to just have Donald Duck make a quick cameo, it would be much better if they made him an actual co-host. Some ideas only sound good on paper or a brainstorm session, and this is one idea that should have remained on the cutting floor. It actually ended up that the trouser-less Donald Duck co-hosted the prestigious event along with Bob Hope, David Niven, Rosalind Russell and James Stewart. The end result was less than stellar and that crazy experiment has never been attempted again.
Perhaps the better word for describing Paul Hogan’s performance as a co-host of the 1986 Academy awards is “weird” rather than “worst.” He co-hosted the night alongside Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase, and again, it was quite surprising that Mr. Crocodile Dundee himself had scored the hosting gig. In true Hogan fashion, he opened the evening with a traditional Aussie greeting, “G’day Viewers,” and then he went on to deliver his opening monologue without the aid of a script or teleprompter. He was also up for an award that night for “Best Screenplay” but he ended up losing to Woody Allen.
Chevy Chase is another one of those Hollywood funnymen that has had a really long and successful career. After becoming a well-recognized personality on Saturday Night Live, he branched out and starred in the National Lampoon movies, and of course Caddy Shack. He also hosted the Oscar awards twice – once as a co-host, but the following year (1988), he was flying solo. Suffice is to say that his solo effort didn’t go so well. A fair rule of thumb for when you’re the master of ceremonies for such an august gathering is to avoid starting the evening by insulting the audience. Apparently, Chevy Chase didn’t know this basic rule, and he opened the evening with the following words: “Good evening Hollywood phonies!” You can imagine, everything went downhill from there.
David Letterman is officially retiring in 2015, and when he does, we’ll be saying goodbye to one of the quickest, funniest and sharpest Late Night hosts of all time. However, even for someone as talented as Mr. Letterman, he still failed to hit a home run when he hosted the Oscars in 1994. His worst gaffe of the night is when he attempted an Oprah and Uma Thurman joke that fell completely flat. It was quite bizarre actually; he was attempting to introduce Uma and Oprah by running back and forth on stage and yelling out their names. His aim was to emphasize that these two actresses have awkward sounding names, but no one else in the audience thought that his senseless joke was amusing. And just like that, his Oscar hosting effort went up in flames.
Jerry Lewis is an icon of American film and television. He’s one of those characters that needs no introduction in the world of Hollywood. He’s almost 90 years old now, but in his heyday, he was one of the top actors, singers, producers and directors of his time. He hosted the Oscar awards 3 years in a row, but the third time around (in 1959) didn’t work so well. The show itself didn’t have any major gaffes, but for some reason, the television broadcast ended 20 minutes ahead of time. In those days, you had to fill the entire air time you were slotted for, so Lewis came up with an idea. He tried to stretch out the closing song, “No Business like Show business,” by inviting actors to come on stage to sing and dance with him. It ended up being quite an embarrassing affair and the show still ended early.