Jon Stewart on Eddie Murphy as Oscar host

Posted by · 8:42 am · September 15th, 2011

I have to be honest and admit that sometimes I forget that Jon Stewart hosted the Oscars. Part of that is because the host is just so rarely memorable (everything that’s not novel starts to become a blur). And Stewart’s done it TWICE, mind. The first time (2006 ceremony), his dry “Daily Show” writers failed to hit the mark (though, now that I think about it, I was in the aisles over that Wylie Stateman bit). The second time, two years later, went over better but he had obviously dialed some things down.

Still, anyone who has hosted the Oscars twice is a go-to guy for advice any day of the week. It’s a demanding gig, not for the faint of heart. And if you do it twice, well, you’re probably a little crazy, but you also clearly love the showmanship of it all. Billy Crystal is generally associated with the job (he’s done it eight times and almost made it a ninth this year). But Bob Hope is of course the real king, having taken the stage on 18 occasions in his time.

So the news that Eddie Murphy was tapped as this year’s Oscarcast host is naturally a hot topic to cover with prior emcees. And over at Rolling Stone, Eric Bates has done just that, probing Stewart for his thoughts.

Says Stewart:

Listen, the last person I would give advice to is Eddie Murphy. He’s gonna fucking kill it. He’s the type of guy they haven’t had in a while. He’s a movie star, but he’s a great comic – sort of similar to Billy Crystal in his “multi-ability”…

With guys like me, you get the sense that at some level, deep down inside, we think it’s fucking ridiculous. Now that can make for a very entertaining show. But it’s good to mix it up.

The biggest problem of the show is the show. My favorite thing was when we showed one of their montages about all of these incredibly socially powerful films, and how Hollywood was a leader in the civil rights movement. I came back after the montage ended and said, “And racism was never a problem again.” You just felt the whole room go, “Hey, motherfucker! Who do you think you are?”

I still think the Condon/Mark/Jackman year was the freshest, classiest example of late, a show that never really dipped too far into the pompous sincerity Stewart describes at the end there, but always maintained a level of respect. It was like a giant cocktail gathering.

We’ll see how Ratner and company handle the festivities this year. I’m honestly (cautiously) optimistic. But one thing I’m definitely okay with is Murphy at the helm. I think it’s going to be a great, unique fit.

[Photo: Associated Press]

→ 18 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

18 responses so far

  • 1 9-15-2011 at 8:50 am

    John Gilpatrick said...

    Wish I could share the same enthusiasm about Murphy, but I totally agree about the Jackman year. That was a tremendous show.

  • 2 9-15-2011 at 8:54 am

    Graysmith said...

    I kinda feel like the host role has been all too neutered in the last decade. They get to do some funny monologue or skit in the beginning, and after that it’s just welcoming presenters and maybe getting a few soft jabs in there.

    I think there’s enormous potential for Eddie Murphy to kill it, but I think the Academy needs to let the host breathe and not have it all be about coming in under X hours and X minutes. If the show is great people aren’t going to care if it’s 3 hours and 45 minutes.. It’s time well spent as opposed to a crappy, rushed show that’s still over 3 hours long.

  • 3 9-15-2011 at 8:59 am

    Alex in Movieland said...

    I could swear he only hosted once…

  • 4 9-15-2011 at 9:21 am

    will said...

    Totally agree about the Condon/Mark/Jackman year. That was the best ceremony in recent memory.

    Jon Stewart hosted it twice?! Didn’t remember that. I remember his first year b/c they had those fake Oscar ads for “Keira Knightley: Acting With Cheekbones.”

    But I guess he did do it twice b/c I remember him bringing Marketa Irglova back out during his second ceremony to give a speech after she got cut off.

  • 5 9-15-2011 at 9:23 am

    Danny said...

    Ditto on the Jackman year. That was the best show of recent memory.

    And ditto to Graysmith. Last year was one of the shorter shows, and after all the previous bellyaching about length, no one cared they finished just about on time, because the show itself wasn’t liked.

  • 6 9-15-2011 at 9:38 am

    Will said...

    It’s amazing! He totally hosted twice in 2005 (Crash) and then in 2007 (No Country for Old Men), but I don’t remember him hosting the second time at all. Yet, I remember his 2006 opening number very vividly.

  • 7 9-15-2011 at 10:07 am

    tony rock said...


    Unfortunately, with ADD Ratner producing, I can’t imagine that “rush, rush” mentality going away. It might even be worse. This is the same guy who sacrificed several major characters, shorthanded two important plots, and skimped on oodles of emotional investment in order to make the conclusion to a trilogy (X-men 3) a mere 90 mins long.

  • 8 9-15-2011 at 11:11 am

    No H Jon said...

    i can almost guarantee you that they’ll have michael bay produce next year. in which case, he’ll

    1. rotate a camera 360 to show who is where
    2. hire big name hacks to do random product placement
    3. invent a giant robot to eat up all the reak actors
    4. tap ben affleck and matt damon to host (and get them to become at odds with one another)
    5. get barack obama to make a speech before a major act is committed (best pic announced)
    6. blow the building up

    all in the name of ratings and disrespecting true talent/art

  • 9 9-15-2011 at 11:12 am

    No H Jon said...

    * that would be real actors, not REAK actors

  • 10 9-15-2011 at 11:41 am

    shark said...

    Man, that’s hilarious. Hollywood is so mind-bogglingly racist that it’s pretty despicable for them to pat themselves on the back for aiding the civil rights movement.

  • 11 9-15-2011 at 12:43 pm

    ben said...

    I actually really liked Stewart as host. Not sure whether it was more the producers or his own decision, but one of my favorite Oscar moments was when he brought Marketa Irglova back on stage after she got cut off.

  • 12 9-15-2011 at 1:07 pm

    Fitz said...

    I haven’t really enjoyed an Oscar telecast since Stewart’s appearances. Maybe Eddie Murphy will change that.

  • 13 9-15-2011 at 1:16 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    I enjoyed Ellen’s hosting style. Perhaps it had more to do with the fact that ‘The Departed’ swept the Oscars that year, but either way- a good time had by all (unless you were of course Eddie Murphy and proceeded to have a tantrum).

  • 14 9-15-2011 at 2:11 pm

    SC said...

    Stewart’s first hosting gig had one of my all-time favourite bits: the Best Actress attack ads.

  • 15 9-15-2011 at 7:52 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Stewart was great.

    Funny about the Jackman year, because that ceremony was extremely well received but when I watched it with my mom and dad they both hated it. I personally fell more in line with the “loved it” opinion, although it was brought down a bit by the five-presenters thing for the acting categories.

  • 16 9-15-2011 at 9:03 pm

    qwiggles said...

    Hear, hear for Condon/Mark/Jackman. As classy as these things get — i.e. not very but sort of.

  • 17 9-15-2011 at 10:41 pm

    sosgemini said...

    Another vote of approval for the Condon/Mark/Jackman approach. From the staging, camera angles, editing and intimate seating, you felt like you were a part of the big show. Everything since (the god awful attempts to replicate the 5 previous winners presenter) has felt like failed attempts to replicate that show.

  • 18 9-16-2011 at 12:02 am

    Nelson said...

    Another huge fan of Hugh Jackman and company. I say bring that flavor back to the show. Eddie Murphy and Brett Ratner are two of my least favorite people in Hollywood. I will reserve my judgement… but my expectations are very, very low