Publication date January 8, 2024

The Spotlight Stealers: Ranking Top 10 Iconic Oscar Hosts

As the annual award season kicks off, the question on everyone's mind is always: will the Oscars have a host? 

After all, hosting Hollywood's biggest night has been reserved for comedic giants like Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg, leaving audiences in stitches year after year. 

But following the 2019 scandal and two pandemic-impacted years of hostless ceremonies, the return of Jimmy Kimmel this year feels like a breath of fresh air. 

But who are the other iconic Oscars hosts who've truly stolen the spotlight and left a lasting legacy? 

Today, in this post, we rank the Top 10 most unforgettable showrunners in Academy Awards history, based on their humor, stage presence, and impact on the ceremony itself. 

Let’s dive into the list of the top Oscars Hosts and see who's made the Oscars truly unforgettable!

10. Jon Stewart hosted in 2006 and 2008

Jon Stewart

Source: EW

In his long speech in 2006, Jon Steward made a lot of funny jokes about the difficult role of being an Oscars host, but his performance that year showed just how hard the gig can really be. Of course, he didn’t do it awfully but his performance the first go-round was considered as sleepy and awkward. 

But, fortunately, when he returned in 2008, with all the fanfare of an election year, the audience mostly seemed to take him more seriously and Jon received more positive reviews. 

9. Jimmy Kimmel hosted in 2017 and 2018

Jimmy Kimmel

Source: Variety

Jimmy Kimmel seriously did great as a host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and a late-night talk show in 2017. He was mostly well-received with playful gags like letting tourists into the theater. But, sadly, some gags weren't as beloved, like taking on a tumultuous election year by tweeting at the president during the show. 

After Kimbel hosted the Oscars in 2017 and 2018, in an interview he said "I always dreamed of hosting the Oscars exactly four times.” After a total of 5 years since his last Oscars hosting gig, Jimmy returned to host the 2023 Oscars. 

8. Johnny Carson hosted the Oscars from 1979 to 1982, and again in 1984

Johnny Carson

The admired host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson took on Oscars gig five times, including four years in a row from 1979 to 1982. And as expected, he gave a solid performance every time, knowing just how to balance his delivery to make everyone laugh and entertain. 

During one year’s event, he said “I see a lot of new faces here, especially on the old faces.” While many believe Hope is the man to beat when it comes to the top Oscar host of all time, others say that distinction belongs just as much to Carson.

7. In 2005, Chris Rock hosted the Oscars. He returned to host again in 2016

Chris Rock

Source: Vanity Fair

When it comes to best Oscars hosts, how can we skip the one who never shies away from controversial jokes? Chris Rock’s hosting has usually come with gut-punch jokes about current events alongside the typical roasting of the night's nominees.

Rock has hosted the Oscars twice, including as an Oscars 2016 presenter, when the #OscarsSoWhite controversy embroiled the awards over its lack of Black, Asian, and minority ethnic nominees. 

Recently, at the show at the Arizona Financial Theatre, He said he declined an offer to host the 2023 Academy Awards following the now infamous moment Will Smith slapped Rock during the 2022 ceremony for joking about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. As per the report, he reportedly joked that hosting the Oscar would be like returning to the scene of a crime.

But we can’t ignore the fact that he really is one of the best and most memorable Oscar hosts, Rock knows how to deliver jokes with perfect timing and wit. He was amazing poking fun at celebrities and the ceremony itself while still keeping the audience engaged and laughing

6. Steve Martin hosted solo in 2003

Steve Martin

Source: YouTube

When Steve Martin hosted the Oscar in 2003 solely on his own, he was an absolute success. His jokes were warm, even when he poked fun at others, and both in person and at home audience seemed to adore him.

While that’s true that Martin and Alec Baldwin are each hilarious in their own right, for some reason, as co-hosts when the two hosted Oscar 2010 the chemistry just wasn’t there. Despite having hosted successfully in 2001 and 2003 on his own, Martin's magic was gone, when he was paired with Baldwin.

For many of us, it was a surprising blunder since there were high expectations for the talented comedic pair, ultimately many criticized their lack of comedic timing. It was a lesson for many that it is just as important as the ability to generate laughs.

5. Actor Hugh Jackman tried his hand at hosting in 2009

Hugh Jackman

Another iconic Oscar host, Jackman took the gig in a unique approach, focusing more on song and dance than any other host before him. Many viewers loved it, while others felt such a style should be reserved for the Tony Awards instead. Whatever your views, the introduction of a dapper young actor who also happens to be musically inclined made for a solidly rated event. 

Hugh Jackman’s musical opening tribute to the nominated films has received more than 21 million views on YouTube. His performance was charming and likable without being grating and he did it all while singing and dancing wonderfully. That’s the reason why he goes down as one of the best. 

4. Billy Crystal hosted a total of nine times: from 1990 to 1993, and in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, and 2012

Billy Crystal

Source: GoldDerby

Not once, twice, or thrice, the iconic Oscar host and The When Harry Met Sally star has hosted a total of nine times, second only to Bob Hope. While not every gig has been great, you have to give the man props for coming back time after time.  

He has truly become the epitome of an Oscars host, from his songs to his video gags.  Crystal has the kind of flattering, but never-crude style that allowed him to still make people like him year after year.  

One of his most memorable moments, which he did twice both in 2000 and 2004 as a host, was 'What The Stars Are Thinking' where he imagined the internal thoughts of celebs like Jack Nicholson ('You know what? I'm still the coolest guy in the room'.)

3. Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Oscars in 2007

 Ellen DeGeneres

Source: Digital Spy

I’m sure if you’re a fan of  The Ellen DeGeneres Show, then you already know how amazing the host is, and also who doesn’t love an Oscar host who brings pizza and takes selfies?

While Ellen wasn’t exactly the most shining host in her first appearance in 2007, as her style of comedy didn’t exactly resonate with the Oscars audience who seemed to be used to some song and dance performance. 

But, the comedian was more made up for it in 2014 when she staged many viral and charming jokes, including delivering pizzas to audience members and staging one epic selfie that would go down in history, making her most memorable stunt. 

2. Actress Whoopi Goldberg has hosted in 1994, 1996, 1999, and 2002.

Whoopi Goldberg

Source: Insider

As you’ve noticed in this list of iconic Oscars hosts, back there there weren’t a lot of women to host.  In fact, Spook Show star Whoopi Goldberg made history as the first woman to host the Academy Awards solo and the first Black person to host the Academy Awards. 

And she clearly killed it in her four stints as Oscars host, never shied away from wearing a wacky outfit, using Oscar audience members for gags or even toning it down as her first hosting gig fell on the year "Schindler's List" won Best Picture, making the night a little more somber.

1. Bob Hope hosted from 1940 to 1943, and later in 1945, 1946, 1953, 1955, 1958, 1959 to 1962, 1965 to 1968, 1975, and 1978.

Bob Hope is truly the King of the Oscars. The comedian hosted the ceremony a record 19 times either solo or as a team, even before the Oscars were even broadcast on television. 

For a long time, people assumed that Hope would only host, and only if he had conflicts would they ask someone else. He is one of the people who have made the Oscars what it is today. Although some of his jokes might feel indifferent, his old-fashioned humor is a symbol of the classic Oscars vibe.

Hope is the quintessential Oscars host, even though he received a medal from the Academy in 1966 for his service to the show, and for that, he absolutely deserves the top spot.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. Who is the best Oscar host of all time?

Bob Hope is considered the best Oscar host of all time. He has hosted the ceremony a record 19 times either solo or as a team, even before the Oscars were even broadcast on television.

Q. Has an Oscar host ever won?

In 1959, David Niven made history as the first person to ever host and receive an Oscar in the same year at the 31st Academy Awards. He received the honor of Best Actor for his part in Separate Tables.

Q. Who is the youngest person to ever host the Oscars?

Actor Anne Hathaway is the youngest person to ever host the Oscars. She was 28 years old when she hosted the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011. 

Q. How many times has Chris Rock hosted the Oscars?

Chris Rock has hosted the Oscars total of three times, first in 2005: The 77th Academy Awards, second in 2016, and the third time in 2022: The 94th Academy Awards where he co-hosted with Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes.

Q. Who's hosting the Oscars this year in 2024?

According to recent reports including Billboard, Jimmy Kimmel is going to host the Oscars 2024, which will be held March 10, 2024, at its usual home, the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood. It will be Kimmel's fourth time as host.

Also Read:

Top 5 unbelievable snubs and surprises of Oscar Nominations 2022

Was Tom Cruise a No-Show at Oscars 2023 to Avoid Ex-Wife Nicole Kidman?

© 2024 Ocean Media: All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy