Is it time to already begin thinking about next year's Academy Awards show? Well, if you're like most Americans -- and critics, the venerable Roger Ebert among them -- who watched last night's show, then the answer is "yes."
The hipster hosts, 28-year-old Anne Hathaway and 32-year-old James Franco, didn't exactly bomb last night, but they did bore us. Franco seemed to be reprising his role in Pineapple Express, while Hathaway didn't seem to do anything memorable. Appearances by Alec Baldwin ("If this was my dream, I'd be hosting") and Billy Crystal (who mentioned 18-time host Bob Hope) reminded viewers of better awards shows. With last night's backward step behind us, let's look forward to the short list of people who should host next year.10. Randy Newman
His warm performance and funny speech last night puts him in a good position to start off our list. He's been nominated an incredible 20 times for Oscars, and he won his second last night for his song inToy Story 3
. He's beloved, he can perform and he seems refreshingly approachable for a member of the entertainment industry. The above video is vintage Newman (1978).
9. Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert While their movie roles (Stewart now famously was the "Enhancement Smoker" in Half Baked, while Colbert's biggest role was in Strangers with Candy) are limited to fan favorites if not critical successes, they clearly are professionals on stage, best exemplified by the the Rally to Restore Sanity in D.C. back in October.
8. Ellen DeGeneres She's already hosted the Oscars once (back in 2007) and the Emmys (2001). She's the host of her own popular, goofy-dance drenched daytime talk show and, again, people like her. People love Ellen. There's a reason Oprah has never hosted (although she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for 1985's The Color Purple): She's too famous and somewhat polarizing. Not DeGeneres.
7. Charlie Sheen Drunk, sober, high or with a blond on his arm, at 45, Charlie Sheen is still American's favorite drunk uncle who can't get his act together, but that we're all still kind of jealous of because of his extravagant lifestyle (Phew!). Sheen is funny, an easy target and hopefully not above self-deprecation, and it would be the mark of an incredible comeback. While he may not be the youthful Bud Fox or Ricky 'Wild Thing' Vaughn any longer, but he still would make for an entertaining show.
6. Jane Lynch She's been memorable in cameos in acclaimed movies (Julie & Julia), voice-over work (Ice Age, Shrek Forever After) and TV roles -- the delicious Sue Sylvester on Glee -- so Lynch's comedic chops and professionalism make her a great candidate. And at age 50, she's the middle-age antidote to Hathaway, who seemed a bit out of her element last night.
5. Robert Downey, Jr. It's obvious he's very comfortable at awards shows -- last night, Jude Law pejoratively characterized him "smug" and "witty" during their presentation -- and has taken on a variety of roles, none of which were particularly career-defining.
4. Alec Baldwin & Tina Fey Baldwin's hosted the big show before with Steve Martin in 2009, but if he were paired with 30 Rock co-star Fey, who's smart, funny and as head writer on SNL for all those years and used to a hectic production schedule, Baldwin would hopefully recreate some of the comedic chemistry he has with Fey on the NBC show. And hopefully there would be a Mean Girls reference.
3. Zach Galifianakis It would be like a three-hour version of Between Two Ferns. And like other hosts on this list, he doesn't seem to care in the slightest about Hollywood, which makes him an even better candidate.
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2. Ricky Gervais After his controversial Golden Globes hosting gig -- which was so memorable it got him signed on to do next year's show, despite joking that the Hollywood Foreign Press accepts bribes -- we'd love to see him lift a pint of beer on the classiest night in the film industry.
1. Seth Rogen The affable actor and writer is the definition of gregarious. While he's young like Franco (remember the two on Freaks and Geeks?), he's best known as a comic and a writer. If he were the solo host, he'd legitimately bring in the younger audience instead of what felt like pandering last night. Bonus: Pair him with Ricky Gervais.