Last year’s Oscars, hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco, drew some criticism. Franco seemed to lack energy and both hosts struggled to keep the crowd engaged throughout the whole ceremony. After all that negative talk, The Academy is looking to spice things up this year, inviting some of the biggest names in comedy to host and present.
Oscars producers, Brian Grazer and Don Mischer will turn over the reigns to comedian and veteran host Billy Crystal. A crowd favorite, Crystal has hosted some of the most successful Oscar telecasts to date. His talent, combined with that of this year’s list of top-notch presenters, might just be the recipe for success.
With well-known comedians like Tina Fey, Chris Rock and Will Ferrell, The Academy is going for laughs. These three Hollywood (and Saturday Night Live veterans) have been knocking them dead — in the movies, on TV and onstage — for years. Fey stars in 30 Rock and authored of bestselling memoir Bossypants. Host of the 77th Academy Awards, Rock recently starred in Mother F**ker with the Hat, which was nominated for a Tony. Ferrell will present with Zack Galifianakis; the two just finished shooting The Campaign. Ben Stiller, next due to be seen in Neighborhood Watch, will also present.
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy (Photo Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Disney)
Despite all this comedic talent, two screen legends may just steal the show. Fresh off the box office monster (and Oscar nominee) The Muppets, the Hollywood “It” couple of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy are scheduled to appear. It will be their fifth appearance.
Beyond the comedians, The Academy has tapped a regular who’s who of Hollywood elite to present. Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Michael Douglas will all take the stage, envelope in hand. Streep has been nominated for a record 17 Oscars, and she’s up again this year for Best Actress in The Iron Lady. Hanks won back-to-back Oscars for his roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump; his credits include Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away and Catch Me If You Can among many others. Douglas won an Oscar for his performance as financier Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.
Meryl Streep (Photo Credit: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)
And the list of celebrity presenters doesn’t end there. Others include Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, Cameron Diaz, Christian Bale, Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Halle Berry, Milla Jovovich, Penélope Cruz and Tom Cruise.
Does Billy Crystal still have the hosting magic? Can this startling array of talent bring the Academy Awards back to its former glory? We’ll find out this weekend.
The Oscars will take place Sunday, February 26, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
Visit the Oscars section at CBS Local.