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A host so good he deserved two consecutive years. Jimmy Kimmel joked he was at fault for the Best Picture mistake that happened in 2017 with Moonlight and La La Land – and leaned right into it during the broadcast, proving he could handle live TV. He did such a great job, in fact, that he was asked to return the next year. However, his opening monologue in 2018 was less funny and more focused on the things that needed attention: he took no time bringing up the #MeToo movement and gave films that deserved recognition, like Get Out, the time they earned.
Rock came out swinging at the 2005 Academy Awards -- no one (including the comedian himself) was safe from his edgy insults. While some people praised the star's bold comedy, others thought he crossed a line. His most famous gag? "Who is Jude Law? You want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law?...Why is he in every movie I have seen in the last four years?" Sean Penn later came to Law's defense, saying pointedly, "Jude is one of our finest actors."
Rock returned 11 years later to host the show in 2016 and didn’t stay away from the elephant in the room. That year, there were zero nominations for actors of color and he coined the show as the “White People’s Choice Awards.”
In 2015, the How I Met Your Mother star received mixed reviews for his MC abilities. His jokes were funny – he poked fun at his own career, came out in his underwear to spoof Birdman and showed off his song and dance skills with some help from Anna Kendrick. However, some critics thought his opening was “bland” and the political speeches were actually more entertaining than his skits.
DeGeneres was her usual chatty, charming self when she hosted the Oscars in 2007. "Most people had a dream of winning an Academy Award. I had a dream of hosting," she said. "Let that be a lesson to you kids out there: Aim lower." The comedian also earned laughs for this quippy bit: "Let's be honest. It's not that we don't have time for long speeches. We don't have time for boring speeches."
DeGeneres returned in 2014 to host a second time, where she handed out pizza and took the most-shared selfie in history that included Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.
The Family Guy creator knows how to write jokes that work, but his delivery at the 2013 event didn’t work for many. His male-centric humor turned many way, as did one joke in particular. “Daniel Day-Lewis is not the first actor to be nominated for playing Lincoln,” he said. “Raymond Massey portrayed him in 1940's Abe Lincoln In Illinois. This is true. I would argue, however, that the actor who really got inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth.” Many thought that the joke was too much – even decades later.
Crystal is easily the most beloved host of the last two decades. He has nine telecasts under his belt, including the 2012 Oscars and the 1998 Oscars, which reached more viewers than any other Academy Awards show in history. His trademark is a song-and-dance about the Best Picture nominees, but he's also famous for his unforgettable entrances. In 1992, he was wheeled onstage in a hand truck, with a Hannibal Lecter muzzle over his face -- a nod to that year's big winner, Silence of the Lambs.
In 2011, the Spring Breakers star and the Les Miserables standout (up for Best Supporting Actress this year) became the youngest hosts in Oscar history -- and the worst-received. Franco seemed bored by the whole affair, and Hathaway overcompensated by being hyper-excited. Joking about her Les Mis performance at the 2013 Golden Globes in January, host Tina Fey quipped: "I have not seen someone so totally alone and abandoned like that since you were onstage with James Franco at the Oscars."
Martin emceed the awards twice by himself, in 2001 and 2003, but his 2010 stint with Baldwin was his most successful. The rival Saturday Night Live guest hosts deadpanned their way through the evening to many laughs from stars they good-naturedly skewered onstage. "Some of the youngest stars are here tonight: Zac Efron and Taylor Lautner," Baldwin announced to cheers. Then, when the applause died down, Martin quipped: "Take a good look at us, guys. This is you in five years."
The popular Aussie entertainer wasn't as outright funny as other hosts, but he charmed the audience nonetheless. "Due to cutbacks, the Academy said they didn't have enough money for an opening number," he said in his opening monologue. "I'm going to do one anyway...Because in Hollywood, you don't need money. You can build a dream with nothing." He then performed a low-budget song about the Best Picture nominees, complete with cardboard sets, "Craigslist" dancers, and a cameo by Anne Hathaway.
After a less-than-stellar first performance in 2006, the Daily Show comedian was invited back for the 2008 Oscars, which occurred shortly after the Hollywood Writers' Strike ended. Stewart saved what could have been a tense night when he quipped in his opening monologue: "Does this town need a hug?" He also showed class when he invited Best Original Song co-composer Marketa Irglova (of Once) to return to the stage to give her acceptance speech, which was prematurely cut off by the orchestra.
The Sister Act star became the first woman and the first African-American to host the show solo when she took the stage in 1994. She returned two years later in 1996, and then again in 1999 and 2002. Her Oscars were big on wisecracking humor and costume changes: Goldberg's many getups included an elaborate Elizabethan gown and headpiece, a glittering Moulin Rouge-inspired showgirl outfit with matching top hat, and a metallic space-age ensemble accessorized with a purple wig and feathers.
Letterman's late-night schtick did not play out well at the 1995 Academy Awards. Many of his jokes fell flat, garnering only a few awkward laughs from the audience. In what is now one of the Oscars' most infamous gaffes, he attempted to introduce Oprah Winfrey and Uma Thurman, solely because of their unusual names. "Oprah, Uma. Uma, Oprah," he said as he walked across the stage gesturing to both actresses. "Have you kids met Keanu?"
The notoriously prickly National Lampoon star was doomed from the very beginning of his 1988 Oscars gig. He sealed his fate the moment he opened his mouth and spoke these words: "Good evening, Hollywood phonies." Chase's fellow stars were not amused, and he was never invited back.
The 1986 Oscars telecast was the third-lowest rated in Academy Awards history. Alda, Fonda, and Williams fell flat and were easily upstaged by other performers, including Lionel Richie, Barbra Streisand, and Huey Lewis and the News. The biggest star of the night, though, was Cher, who showed up in what is now one of her most famous outfits of all time: a midriff-baring Bob Mackie design that looked like something a Las Vegas showgirl might wear, complete with a two-foot-tall feathered headpiece.
Lemmon hosted four times in his career, but his best moment was in 1972, when he emceed with Sammy Davis Jr., Helen Hayes, and Alan King. That year, he became part of Academy Awards history when he presented an honorary Oscar to silent film star Charlie Chaplin, then 82, who had recently returned to America after 20 years of exile in Europe.
Carson, the king of late night, hosted the Oscars five times. During his reign, he bantered with Miss Piggy, teased Marlon Brando, and joked about the ever-longer ceremonies. (In 1980, he quipped that President Jimmy Carter was negotiating for the audience's release from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where that year's awards were held.) His comedy struck a delicate balance between mocking and funny: "I see a lot of new faces...especially on the old faces," he cracked in 1979.
Hope is the host with the most, in terms of both quantity and quality. He emceed the Oscars 19 times between 1940 and 1977 -- 12 times solo, and seven times with others, including Jimmy Stewart and Donald Duck. (Yes, that Donald Duck.) With a few exceptions, his stints were widely praised and well-received, despite some tough situations. (In 1962, a fan rushed the stage, and in 1968, he was tasked with hosting the show a week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.)
Ol' Blue Eyes emceed twice, once by himself in 1963 and once with Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, and Shirley MacLaine in 1975. The second stint was a tense one -- during the telecast, he and his co-hosts faced controversy when filmmaker Bert Schneider read a telegram from a Viet Cong diplomat, prompting angry viewers to send in telegrams of their own. Mid-show, Sinatra read a disclaimer by Hope in which he said that the Academy was not responsible for the political views expressed on the program.