Martin and Fey: the obvious choice

Posted by · 1:05 pm · October 8th, 2009

Tina Fey and Steve Martin at the 81st Annual Academy AwardsIt seems the annual spitballing over who will/should host next year’s Academy Awards ceremony has already started.

Sasha Stone has compiled a list of her own preferred men (and women) for the job, while Kris has other ideas. (More seriously, his Kevin Spacey suggestion last year remains one I’m completely on board with.) Meanwhile, Kris and Anne will spotlight the issue in tomorrow’s edition of Oscar Talk.

For my part, I can’t see a Hugh Jackman repeat working as effectively without Bill Condon and Laurence Mark’s creative steering. (Besides, as game as he was, I missed the comedy a little.) And for all the championing of vogueish names from Neil Patrick Harris to Justin Timberlake — and as much as I actually appreciated Jon Stewart’s efforts — I always find the night feels more comfortable with a genuine movie figure on stage.

So I can’t be the only one thinking the Academy already auditioned the perfect candidates in February — in a segment that was, for this viewer anyway, the high point of the entire broadcast.

Steve Martin and Tina Fey represent an ideal compromise between the old guard and the new: one’s a safe (and consistently funny) pair of hands who’s done it before, the other’s a current pop-culture behemoth whose star couldn’t be brighter at the moment. One has a solid Hollywood grounding, the other would bring crossover interest from another medium. They’re irreverent but not overly abrasive, cool but not overly of-the-moment. Perfect, in other words.

Finally, having a pair of hosts, rather than the one-man format we’re used to, is the kind of gentle change that would generate interest in the telecast without ruffling too many feathers. And we know their chemistry pops. Check out the following video if you need reminding.

→ 29 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Daily

29 responses so far

  • 1 10-08-2009 at 1:06 pm

    snowballa said...

    There’s only one man for the job: Ricky Gervais.

  • 2 10-08-2009 at 1:09 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I love Ricky Gervais, I really do. But aren’t there still an awful lot of American viewers who don’t know who he is?

  • 3 10-08-2009 at 1:13 pm

    Blake said...

    He’ll maybe never do it after getting rejected in 2003, but…Bill Murray???

    And either: Robin Williams or Nathan Lane.

    Does Billy Crystal ever want to come back?

  • 4 10-08-2009 at 1:14 pm

    Blake said...

    To clarify “getting rejected”, I’m referring to his nomination for best actor.

  • 5 10-08-2009 at 1:16 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Aside from Whoopi Goldberg, every host from the last 20 years has been fine. It’s not that hard a gig and if you can present 20 minutes of entertaining material spread out over 4 hours, I’m fine with you.

  • 6 10-08-2009 at 1:17 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Come now, Murray didn’t get “rejected.” He lost. Like 80% of nominees do every year.

    As for the possibilities of a Murray-hosted ceremony … the mind reels!

  • 7 10-08-2009 at 1:19 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    (meekly raises hand) I liked Whoopi Goldberg.

    For my money, Chris Rock and Letterman are the only recent hosts I wouldn’t even consider inviting back.

  • 8 10-08-2009 at 1:26 pm

    snowballa said...

    @Guy: Honestly, I don’t think that matters. He was so funny at the Golden Globes that I think people will tune in just to laugh. That’s what is missing from the Oscars (among other stuff).

    I don’t think the numbers earlier this year were indicative of Hugh Jackman but rather to see Heath Ledger win and the hype that the show was going to sooooo different when in fact it turned to a 4-hour version of the Tonys.

    I want to see these narcisstic stars squirm (but laugh) as Gervais tells it how it is. Check out the youtube video of Kate Capshaw unable to contain herself when Gervais made the joke about the Hollywood Foreign press.

    I’ll be happy with Steve Martin, but I have this thing against TV actors (i.e. Tina Fey) hosting for the show. Yeah, I’m a Hollywood snob like that.

  • 9 10-08-2009 at 1:35 pm

    Loyal said...

    I raised the idea of Ricky Gervais hosting in the article Sasha Stone referenced.

    As mentioned, I think Hugh Jackman would be the ideal host. But if we assume he’s not returning, Gervais would be wonderful. Tina Fey made the cut as well.

  • 10 10-08-2009 at 2:14 pm

    Nick Davis said...

    I’m also a fan of Whoopi’s hosting gigs. I also thought Ellen was pretty great, not least because everyone in Hollywood seems to like her so much.

    Martin & Fey would be great, but don’t make me relinquish my fantasy of Streep & Tomlin, or of Emma Thompson.

  • 11 10-08-2009 at 2:18 pm

    Andrew Webb said...

    My preferred pick, even after Kris dismissed it a couple months ago, and especially after the Emmys, remains Neil Patrick Harris. I would gladly take the scenario Guy has described above, though.

    And there’s always Gervais, but I get the feeling that he will always be brought up and never actually chosen.

  • 12 10-08-2009 at 2:33 pm

    James D. said...

    What about Steve Carrell? The Office is a trainwreck now, but he is still pretty funny.

  • 13 10-08-2009 at 2:38 pm

    Mike said...

    Agree 100%. They were the best part of the last Oscars.

  • 14 10-08-2009 at 2:49 pm

    Lance said...


  • 15 10-08-2009 at 5:22 pm

    KBJr. said...

    I’m in the “not-too-many-of-the-hosts-do-so-awful” group…I’ve been watching the Oscars for about eight years straight now, and I have yet to watch a host bomb. I always manage to appreciate the individual for their talents, and enjoy the evening as such.

    The impossible and silly expectations the media (and some viewers) put on these folks is what makes the casting decision so dog’on difficult. Shall they placate the Hollywood elite? the viewers? the critics? the blogs?

    Personally, I love Whoopi. Always have. She kills me every time. I loved Stewart and Rock. Liked Ellen and Jackman…and Billy Crystal just cracks me up.

    Gervais is a name I’m always hearing, but is the guy proven? He makes a great monologue in the middle of awards shows…but can he carry the whole thing? Idk.

    Harris? No.
    Carrell? No.

    I vote Seinfeld, Williams, or maybe Spacey.

  • 16 10-08-2009 at 7:49 pm

    BurmaShave said...

    How about no host? It would cut down on time considerably. One year of a show that came in under 3 hours might do a lot towards wooing back viewers. Especially in a setup with the potential for more “mainstream” Best Picture nominees.

  • 17 10-08-2009 at 8:39 pm

    Georgie said...

    I personally thought that Steve Martin should have won the Emmy for his guest spot on 30 Rock. So I’m completely on board with this suggestion.

  • 18 10-08-2009 at 10:16 pm

    Bing147 said...

    I came in here to say Bill Murray… only to see it was already said. GET THIS DONE.

  • 19 10-08-2009 at 10:22 pm

    PJ said...

    Completely agree, and two hosts would add a refreshing new dynamic. If not, then Gervais would be great; his monologue with Steve Carrell during last year’s Emmys was hilarious.

  • 20 10-09-2009 at 12:05 am

    Mario H. said...

    Ricky Gervais is the only choice…the man is hysterical, If he gets the job I know I will enjoy the show regardless of the films nominated.

  • 21 10-09-2009 at 5:14 am

    Ella said...

    People seem to forget that Oscars are watched world-wide. So some comedian like Stewart makes people outside the US feeling the constant “WTF” effect (“Who the hell is that guy?”). I am afraid it would be very similar with NPH or Tina Fey. They are stars of TV shows that don´t air everywhere. Neil Patrick Harris also screams “TV” all over him. Maybe sometime later, after few years.
    Jackman is capable to do his work even without this year producers. He did great at Tonys, had a great comic timing, he just needs a proper material.
    I think he would be great – he is one of the most popular actors, known world-wide. And he is also very favorite among his colleagues. Bring Jackman back.
    But he is will be doing a movie from January so it could be a little tricky…

  • 22 10-09-2009 at 5:52 am

    Colin said...

    @Ella: As a Singaporean, I’d like to point out that Tina Fey is a worldwide star, thanks to her substantial media role in the last US elections (one that, for many reasons, much of the world was following). Her writing of and appearances in Mean Girls and 30 Rock are just icing.

  • 23 10-09-2009 at 6:20 am

    Ella said...

    Colin: I don´t know, I still think she isn´t too well known among “normal” people…I also think that this is about movies and so it should be someone who has closer to movies than TV. And she is still more TV person and not everybody cared about US elections. Politics is, by the way, another thing that shouldn´t have a place in the Oscars. It should be a celebration of arts, not a political propaganda (yes, I am talking about Sean Penn!).
    My opinion, of course, but I still believe that someone as Jackman can rise interest also worldwide.

  • 24 10-09-2009 at 6:40 am

    Alex said...

    What about John C Reilly?

  • 25 10-09-2009 at 7:16 am

    A.J said...

    The commercials for the season premier of 30 Rock call Tina Fey ‘America’s Sweetheart’ which when you think about it, that statement is fairly accurate. I can’t really think of another actress on film or television who can be called ‘America’s Sweetheart’

  • 26 10-09-2009 at 7:17 am

    Joe said...

    I like Tina Fey, and I like Steve Martin, and the idea of them is appealing, but… maybe it was just me, but “Baby Mama” was lame, unfunny, and completely without chemistry. So, if you want a 2-hour trial run of Tina and Steve together (rather than a funny 2-minute presentation clip), there you go.
    Tina Fey and Greg Kinnear, on the other hand… not too bad.

  • 27 10-09-2009 at 7:43 am

    Ella said...

    A.J – that´s what I am talking about – America´s Sweetheart. Oscars became more international in recent years and people are watching it because they want to see their favorite actors all dressed up and outside their movies. They don´t care about some “America´s Sweetheart”. They want to see big stars that are famous overseas, not only in the US. When I say “Tina Fey” here, people answer: “Who?”

  • 28 10-09-2009 at 10:18 am

    Encore Entertainment said...

    Anybody but Tina Fey. Jesus Christ. Enough of her!!!!!

    I know it’ll never but check out these two links from Kristin Chenoweth hosting the Drama Desk Awards and say you’re not impressed.

  • 29 10-09-2009 at 5:08 pm

    Georgie said...

    EE, I love Cheno to death, but she’s not nearly famous enough to host the Oscars.

    And Ella, Tina Fey is a much bigger star than say, Jon Stewart. And I’m positive the Academy (or whoever chooses the host) is concerned about stateside TV ratings, not international ones.

    Joe – check out the episode ‘Gavin Volure’ from Tina Fey’s show 30 Rock where Steve Martin guest-starred… they have chemistry, trust me. And I thought Martin was golden in Baby Mama.