Over the course of its 92-year span, the prestigious award ceremony known as the Oscars has gone through a plethora of changes. Academy Award hosts throughout the years have been hilarious, fallen flat, caused controversy and everything in between. One of, if not the biggest, change to the institution was last year’s award ceremony, which proceeded without a traditional host.
This choice was a case of necessity, not design. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC went forward with no host for the first time since 1989, betting on A-list celebrity presenters and meme-able moments to make for a memorable event. The setup proved to be rather successful, so it’s not at all surprising that for the second year in a row, the Oscars have opted out of relying on a single person to introduce the telecast and lead routine transition segments between awards.
Even though the academy chose to follow last year’s blueprint because it couldn’t find an ideal host, that doesn’t prevent us at The Daily Californian from pondering over a “what if” scenario. Our list of people who should have hosted the 2020 Oscars ceremony includes actors, actresses, musicians and potent personalities who have the right amount of skill and charisma to do the job.
Nick Kroll and John Mulaney
In about five years or so, Nick Kroll and John Mulaney will have ascended to a level of fame in which it will be relatively unsurprising to hear them announced as Academy Awards hosts. After all, they’ve brought unexpected vitality as the hosts of the Independent Spirit Awards, despite the award ceremony itself garnering fewer than 100,000 viewers on IFC. They’re able to effortlessly balance old Hollywood showmanship and disarmingly hilarious and biting jokes. For this duo in particular, it’s only a matter of time.
Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani
Another pair of erstwhile Indie Spirit hosts, Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani have real credibility to lend to the role of Oscars hosts. McKinnon is the inarguable MVP of “Saturday Night Live” at the moment, and Nanjiani is a master at being incredibly funny while imparting something meaningful along the way. This dynamic duo has proven itself to be capable of striking a nice balance between weirdness and professionalism, a balance that might help rake up Oscars viewerships.
At once heart-warmingly familiar and gleefully anarchic, the Muppets would snap the Oscars out of its funky sense of prestige by radically shaking things up. Imagine it: Miss Piggy hanging out with Meryl Streep! A glorious rendition of Kermit the Frog’s song, “Rainbow Connection,” with everyone in the Dolby Theatre joining in! Truthfully, only puppets could bring the 92nd Annual Academy Awards to the height of their potential.
How hasn’t she hosted one of these by now? She’s Melissa McCarthy, America’s comedy sweetheart! The Oscars could use McCarthy’s infectious energy and acclaimed comic wit. She clearly thrives in live performances, having won an Emmy for her “SNL” hosting duties, so she should be considered a top contender.
The Lonely Island
Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone are a force to be reckoned with as a hilarious comedic trio. Their rendition of “Everything is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie” at the 2015 Oscars is still one of the best moments from award ceremonies over the past few years. Hosting duties from the Lonely Island would give the ceremony an unpredictable, showy vibe that would be a lot of fun to see unfold.
Donald Glover’s multihyphenate status as an artist could qualify him for a role as host for any number of award shows. Classifying him as the most confident person on the planet would be the understatement of the year, and he would truly blossom in a job that benefits from real swagger and showmanship. Glover is also as A-list as this list gets, considering that musical success is where critical and popular consensus overlaps most these days. In all honesty, if he sold audiences on a young Lando Calrissian, he can sell them on a hastily assembled awards ceremony.
Few major actors have managed to make charisma as key to their personal brand as Will Smith has for decades. The actor-producer-rapper remains a major movie star with a sizable audience, even as his children have matured into their own promising entertainment careers. There’s no question that Smith would make an endearing Oscars host, able to mingle with the celebrity crowd without condescending to it.
Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig
How many times do these two need to steal the show as presenters before we give in to the inevitable and let them host? An iconic pairing reminiscent of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, with a slightly more absurd sense of humor, this combo is an absolute winner. As part of the electric group of women that helmed a truly iconic era of “SNL,” we know these two can thrive onstage and with each other.