Earlier this week, it was announced that Jimmy Fallon had been approached by the Academy to host the Oscars next year – a possibility that excited many, especially if you witnessed his energetic and hilarious 2010 Emmys host performance, which reportedly increased viewership by over 200,000 from the year before.
However, yesterday, Fallon revealed that while he had been asked to host the Oscars next year, he rejected the offer, stating “No, I’m not going to do the Oscars… It’s an honor to be asked by the Academy, but it’s not my year.”
My first question is: what exactly did he mean by “it’s not my year?”
A question only he can answer.
And secondly, maybe the more important question is: whose year is it? And is there any possibility that it will be a black host?
In the 84 years of Academy Awards celebrations, only 5 African Americans have hosted the ceremony – Sammy Davis Jr in 1972 (although it was a team effort – he co-hosted with Helen Hayes, Alan King, and Jack Lemmon; he would co-host again in 1974, in another team effort), Diana Ross in 1974 (again, also a team effort, co-hosting with John Huston, Burt Reynolds and David Niven), Richard Pryor in 1977 (another team effort with Warren Beatty, Ellen Burstyn and Jane Fonda; he would co-host again in 1983, in another team effort), Whoopi Goldberg in 1994 (and again in 1996, 1999 and 2002, making her the record-holder in terms of African Americans who have hosted the most, and really THE first solo black host of the show), and finally Chris Rock in 2004.
Eddie Murphy would have made it 6 if he didn’t jump ship after assigned producer Brett Ratner had to resign after his stupid homophobic comment.
And from available info, it looks like Eddie would still be a candidate worth considering for the job. The question is whether he’s hurt any future chances, thanks to his last stunt.
Might he get another shot?
He’s certainly interested; but it’s not up to him.
It was a few months ago when Eddie said he’d like the job… again… telling Access Hollywood:
“It’s still something that I would like to do one day, because all the best comics have done it. It’s one of the few things I haven’t done in my 35 years in this business, so I would like to have that be part of my resume as well.”
What I found most interesting were his comments about what he and Ratner had planned for the event when they were attached to produce and host the show, saying that he and Ratner would have given the ceremony a “much-needed boost,” and that they had big plans for the evening, focusing on the music:
“The other award shows — the Grammys and the American Music Awards — all those music shows, they pop. So there’s no reason why the Oscars can’t pop too. You’ve got 10 songs that are up for Song of the Year, so you should have killer musical performances and so the show should be moving and Brett had all these ideas about it. He was really gonna direct the Oscars … When he finished telling me about it, (I) was like, ‘Yeah! Let’s do it!’ And that’s what I got excited about doing — like a hipper, faster, choppier version of the show.”
Too bad we never got to see it.
I doubt Ratner would be asked to produce again; but based on his first comment above, it looks like Eddie would likely still host even if Ratner isn’t producing.
But other than Eddie Murpy, who else of African descent should the Academy be considering? I wouldn’t mind seeing Chris Rock get a second opportunity. I think he was maybe a bit too edgy at times for the crowd, the first time he hosted, but I liked that about his presentation. Although some of his opening monologue jokes fell flat.
Maybe Whoopi Goldberg gets a 5th try at the job – assuming she’s even interested.
Wasn’t Oprah Winfrey rumored to have been approached as well, in recent years? What about her?
Samuel L. Jackson is another possibility. His, at times, hilarious, and honest Olympics tweets have been getting lots of attention from the press. I’ve seen entire articles written about them.
How about Arsenio Hall? His *day* has passed, we could say; but at one time, I could’ve seen him hosting. And now that he’s heading back to late night TV (although not until 2013), this could be a good launching pad for that. But the Academy doesn’t exactly consider itself a “launching pad” for anyone.
What other black entertainer do you think could be (or should be) on the Academy’s short list? Or maybe they blow up their short list and pick someone that absolutely nobody expects; preferably someone who can be funny, fearless, snarky, can carry a tune (even just a wee bit), and isn’t at all concerned about making fun of themselves on stage.
Who fits that description? Chime in with your thoughts, and let’s give the Academy some names to consider, because you know they’re reading this :)