From the Anne Hathaway–James Franco disaster of 2011 to David Letterman‘s “Oprah, Uma” joke in 1995, there has been no shortage of memorable host moments in Academy Awards history.
While frequent hosts Bob Hope and Billy Crystal have become renowned for their ability to emcee Hollywood’s biggest event over the years, others haven’t been as lucky.
In 2011, the Oscars tried their hand at something relatively new by pairing up Franco and Hathaway after the success of duo Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin the year prior. However, Franco and Hathaway were an instant flop, with the Freaks and Geeks alum appearing bored by the event and the Princess Diaries star trying to make up for his lack of energy by coming off as overly excited.
The night was such a memorable mishap that Tina Fey poked fun at the performance while hosting the Golden Globes in 2013.
“I have not seen someone so totally alone and abandoned like that since you were onstage with James Franco at the Oscars,” Fey quipped to the Les Misérables star in the audience.
Chevy Chase’s 1983 Academy Awards gig — which took place during the middle of a writers’ guild strike — was doomed from the start. Opening his monologue by addressing the crowd as “Hollywood phonies,” the Saturday Night Live alum lobbed joke after joke that didn’t land. While he tried to resuscitate his performance with bits about film critics and ad-libs, he was never invited back after failing to get the audience on his side.
Jon Stewart had a similar experience his first time hosting the Oscars in 2006 — but was able to turn things around when he returned as emcee two years later. Coming in after the Hollywood Writer’s Strike had ended, the comedian lightened what could have been a tense night by opening his monologue with, “Does this town need a hug?”
The Daily Show alum’s most commendable moment, however, was his decision to use one of his transitions to invite Marketa Irglová back on stage to finish her acceptance speech for Best Original Song — as co-composer of Once — after she was cut off by the orchestra.
Other hosts, meanwhile, shined bright at the Oscars from the moment they stepped on stage. Whoopi Goldberg was both the Black person and woman to helm the ceremony. With her elaborate costume changes — including an elaborate Elizabethan gown and headpiece and a glittering Moulin Rouge-inspired showgirl outfit —and wisecracking humor, she tore down the house in 1994 and was asked back as host in 1996 and 1999. She returned once again in 2002, which marked the first Academy Awards since 9/11.
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Keep scrolling for all the biggest laughs and gaffes by Oscars hosts over the years