Choosing the Five Best/Worst Oscar Hosts of the Past 20 Years

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While it is definitely cool starring in a film that’s nominated for an Academy Award, it’s just as big of an honor to be asked to host the biggest awards show around.

And since there have been 12 different performers who have done just that since 1994, we’re taking a look back and giving ourselves the daunting task of selecting a mix between the five best and worst.

So who knows if these folks will ever have the privilege of doing it again, but they certainly tried their best at owning it while in the spotlight. These are the best, and the worst, Oscar hosts.

5. Worst, Jon Stewart – 2006, 2008

A former standup comedian, many people recognize Jon Stewart as the host of the widely entertaining, satirical TV show, The Daily Show.

With appeal towards a young, progressive audience, the Academy tabbed Stewart as their host not just once, but twice, banking on his wit and smarts.

Although he tends to get lost in the fray because he held back just a bit—maybe it’s because ’08 was an election year?—lacking any real memorable moments.

4. Best, Whoopi Goldberg – 1994, 1996, 1999, 2002

The first woman to ever host the event all by her lonesome, actress Whoopi Goldberg has had the dubious honor four times in the past 20 years—which, in itself, is impressive.

When you mix in her knee-slapping, non-offensive humor and small jabs at others in the audience, it’s pretty clear that Goldberg knows what she’s doing up on stage.

She isn’t afraid to hold back—which has brought on some controversy—but also knows that as Hollywood’s biggest night, not to cross the line.

3. Worst, Chris Rock – 2005

Everyone really wanted the comedian to kill this gig—and, generally speaking, he did have some noteworthy moments.

But what was wrong with Rock’s hosting is that he didn’t relate to the whole thing, acting more as an outsider trying to fit in than actually being one amongst the big names.

While that bit works well on-stage in comedy clubs and in his movies, the Oscars is all about prestige and history—and Rock seemed to never warm up to that idea.

2. Best, Seth McFarlane – 2013

While there have been bigger stars who have given the hosting role a try, Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane’s turn was just as polished as those whose career isn’t solely animated.

With the Academy hoping to get new blood on stage in hopes of attracting the younger audience—which, seeing where we rank McFarlane, worked—Seth used Broadway-like theatrics and talent to deliver one hell of a show.

Sure, there were people out there who worried the crude-humored comic would do something to embarrass himself and the awards as a whole. But he did anything but, even giving us some memorable moments and one-liners.

1. Best, Billy Crystal – 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2012

Whatever it is that Billy Crystal brings to the Oscars, he certainly does it great.

As a nine-time host of the show, Crystal always brings his Sunday Best while on-stage, setting the standard for anyone who followed him.

A touch of casual humor with a hint of formal, sarcastic roast, it doesn’t matter if you’ve seen any of his movies to open up to liking the guy.

He may be a safe pick to place No. 1 here, but it’s impossible to choose anyone over him based off both brilliance and respect of the guy’s undeniable passion for hosting the event.

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