Presenting the Oscars is not the easiest of gigs. In fact, in recent years, it has transformed into a proverbial grave yard for those brave enough to accept.
While the trio of Billy Crystal, Whooping Goldberg and Steve Martin, for years, used to work successfully in tandem, others have struggled.
Most notably the king of late night David Letterman was a disaster in 1995. The chat show host’s relaxed style just didn’t seem to translate to the big stage.
Recently, James Franco and Anne Hathaway were undoubtedly the worst presenters in living memory, failing to deliver on admittedly poorly written material.
This year, after Eddie Murphy dropped out, veteran Crystal was parachuted in to save the day. But even he seemed to feel the pressure. A mix of out of date, racist and not very funny jokes meant poor Billy’s career in the big time presenting sadly went out with an embarrassing whimper.
And, it now seems the Academy are looking for new comedic blood, after moving for former SNL cast member and part-time movie star Jimmy Fallon to present the 85th annual show.
While the Academy are right to move for a comedian, after the Franco/Hathaway disaster, Fallon has been criticised for his nervousness on his late night chat show. However, he does have much valued experience, presenting the Emmys in 2010. For me a better choice would be Jon Stewart who did well in 2006 and excelled in 2008.
The most important element to making the show successful is the writing, the last two years proved that. Whether Cyrstal was responsible for any of the material is unclear, but the fact is that if he had been given high quality jokes then he would have delivered them expertly and brought the house down.
With performers such as Stewart and Chris Rock (2005) the Academy risk alienating the parts of their audience that think liberal humor is unconstitutional. That’s why Fallon probably seems like a safer bet.