With Billy Crystal wheezing through a pretty uninspired encore gig last year at the Oscars (replacing Eddie Murphy who departed after Brett Ratner stepped down from producing the show after his “Tower Heist” press tour meltdown), and a pretty lethargic James Franco and hyper Anne Hathaway flopping twelve months before, it’s no surprise that the Academy is looking for fresh blood. It appears they’re hoping their answer can be found in channeling some of the talent originating from “Saturday Night Live.”
According to the L.A. Times, actor turned late night host Jimmy Fallon, is in talks to host the ceremonies in February, with ‘SNL’ vet Lorne Michaels to produce. But right now, nothing is guaranteed. One of the big sticking points is that the Oscars are broadcast on ABC, and while the network has no veto power over the host (shoulda looked at those contracts closer guys), they are understandably not pleased to have their rivals at NBC swoop in and nab the gig and presumably gain the subsequent glory. Jimmy Kimmel and Fallon battle for ratings regularly, but there’s an even bigger knot: even if ABC pushes for Kimmel, he’s hosting the Emmy Awards this year, which would disqualify him from the job anyway (Fallon hosted the TV awards in 2010 to some acclaim).
But is he the right choice? Fallon’s schtick of being professionally unprofessional and awkward and in constant disbelief that he’s even on TV is endearing on his show, but not necessarily the right fit for the Oscars. If he brings The Roots with him to be the house band for the show? Yeah, that would rule. But really, the host is just one part of a bigger problem that always plagues the Oscars: they’re too long, often feature bizarre detours (like all that Cirque Du Soleil stuff last year) and the writing is usually terrible. We think the choice of the producer is going to be more important. Lorne Michael is inspired, and hopefully he’ll be allowed to bring some ‘SNL’ staffers with him to liven up the material… also, a Lonely Island appearance in the Dolby Theater? That’s how you get the kids to tune in (the demographic ABC desperately likley wants for this).
You tell us, does Jimmy Fallon work for you, or would you prefer someone else?