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September 25, 2008

Oscar host: Carell, Smith, Colbert?


Does it matter one bit if it's Ellen or Billy Crystal or Steve Martin or Jon Stewart who hosts the Oscars?

Well, it does matter if it's Jon Stewart because the audience members last year at the Kodak, perhaps subdued by the writers strike or just wearing their complete humorlessness on their sleeves that night, seemed to reject the Emmy-winning "Daily Show" star once and for all.

Viewers, for whatever reason, rejected the entire show, making it the lowest-rated Academy Awards telecast in a couple decades.

Would it be different next time if it were top boxoffice draw and suspected Scientology devotee Will Smith, as Gold Derby's Tom O'Neil is suggesting? Or Ricky Gervais, as Hollywood Insider speculates?


As soon as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced that it's changing up the producers behind the show, blog types, TV reviewers and, well hell, the Whole Industry has been all atwitter with possibilities. Something fresh! Different. Different!

That remains to be seen (we've already said we're optimistic). What does seem likely is a new host, and various names are being bandied about right now -- Steve Carell, the aforementioned repeaters Martin, Crystal, DeGeneres and, our personal fave, Stephen Colbert.

But what keeps coming up, as we're scanning blog comments, chat rooms and such, is that the host matters little as an incentive to watch. What matters a lot? The movies. We get the distinct sense that if we have another year like '08 with most of the top nominees adding up to no more than pocket change compared to the boxoffice leaders, we're in for another precipitous ratings dive.

No doubt there would be massive resistance to and resentment of a "Dark Knight"/"Iron Man"/"Horton Hears a Who"/"Sex and the City"-dominated list, though those movies were in the Top 10 this year.

So what's the answer? Let them in and the Oscars becomes the People's Choice. Leave them out and viewers will vote with their remote.

Headache now coming along nicely over here. Help us out, people. Thoughts? Advil?



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Join my new facebook group, "1,000,000 Strong for Stephen T Colbert to host the Oscars!" Spread the word, Thanks!


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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