Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin share Oscar hosting duties
Song and dance and razzle-dazzle. That's what Hugh Jackman brought to the hosting of the Oscars. We'll have none of that! The Academy has announced that Steve Martin will take his third turn as host of the Oscars, but this time he'll have a little help from Alec Baldwin. Please, try to contain your wild enthusiasm.
Only days ago, the Internet was abuzz with the names of people who'd been asked, or people who should host (that would have been Neil Patrick Harris, or Ricky Gervais, depending on whom you talked to). Our pal Tasha Robinson at the Onion's AV Club alerted us to the dimensions of this story: As reported by Nikki Finke at DeadlineHollywood and renoted at CinemaBlend, Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. were asked and declined. See? Everyone on the Internet was reading each other and referring to their stories. It was totally nuts, in the usual way of entertainment-industry reporting.
I'm fine with Martin and Baldwin. No, there won't be Jackman's "I'm a showman!" hustle, but Martin has proven suave and often quite funny, and the bantering he and Baldwin did for the press release shows some promise. Of course, they're going to be playing traffic cops to a nightmare, given the Academy's change to a field of ten nominations for Best Picture. Expect a lot of the other stuff to be trimmed out of the show (Irving Thalberg Award be damned!) so the Academy can pander to popular tastes by showing clips from more big movies, thereby avoiding the complaint heard often over the last few years that the films that real people like don't get honored. It's a dumb criticism (the Oscars is supposed to be about recognition by your peers of excellence in the cinematic art, not a popularity contest. And yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, given how much petty personal politics and such have played a role in the voting. So sue me for aiming for the ideal, even when reality falls short).
Wow, sorry for the rant. Anyhoo, the point is that Martin and Baldwin will have to deliver a tight-but-funny show. Both can do mock-serious quite well, so as long as the writers play to that strength, things shouldn't be as disastrous as some of the past hosting debacles. How's that for an endorsement?