You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Host controls show’s tempo

Emcee has to sense the flow, Steinberg sez

When Billy Crystal announced in December that he had to pass on hosting the Oscars, he suggested an alternate: Jim Carrey.

No joke. The seven-time Oscars emcee, who has put his stamp on the proceedings with his trademark opening song-and-dance montages of film nominees, said the host should be “someone associated with the movies.” No one would argue that Carrey doesn’t meet that requirement, but the creator of characters like Fire Marshall Bill (“In Living Color”) and Ace Ventura could be a strange fit as the master of ceremonies for Hollywood’s biggest night.

David Letterman’s attempt to strait-jacket his ironic wit into the host’s tuxedo (“Uma meet Oprah. Oprah meet Uma.”) in 1995 led to some unflattering reviews. Despite pulling in healthy ratings (32.5, 53 share) the latenight talkshow host’s voyage into big-time primetime is an indication that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences needs to look beyond fame and humor when tapping its master of ceremonies.

David Steinberg, Crystal’s longtime manager who has helped write for the Oscarcasts, believes the host needs to be someone who can sense the ebb and flow of the show. “It’s a three-hour-plus broadcast, and to host it, you have to ride the wave,” Steinberg says. “Billy can ride with the silences of comedy.”

Steinberg notes that a good host should never forget that the show and the awards are the star of the evening.

“You have to have an innate love and respect for the movies and the TV show,” Steinberg says, adding his belief that Steve Martin should do a terrific job come March 25.

Ironically, Carrey’s move into more serious Oscar-worthy fare could be a drawback if he were to agree to serve as host, as being present onstage all night could take away from that statuette-win moment.

“From a manager’s standpoint, if I had a client that was going to win an Oscar, I don’t think that I’d want him to host,” says Dave Rath, a manager at 3 Arts Entertainment whose clients include Janeane Garofalo and Patton Oswalt.

Using a metaphor he attributes to Garofalo, Rath says that these kind of awards evenings are like the high school prom, and the host is the class clown. The school quarterback and the head cheerleader can’t be the emcee, because that would take away from them being crowned king and queen of the prom.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • Tom Holland'Spider-Man: Homecoming' film premiere, Arrivals,

    Tom Holland Addresses Spider-Man’s Studio Divorce at D23: ‘I Love You 3000’

    British actor Tom Holland showed face on the main stage at D23 on Saturday, in the thick of an ugly studio battle over the rights to his iconic Marvel character Spider-Man. Headlines have been rolling in for days about the contentious battle for the cinematic future of the hero, after Sony Pictures became unwilling to [...]

  • Soul Movie

    Pixar's 'Soul' Announces Voice Cast: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey to Star

    Disney debuted a first look at upcoming Pixar film “Soul” at the D23 expo in Anaheim, Calif. and announced its star-studded voice cast. “Soul” imagines that every person on earth comes pre-installed with a soul formed and perfected in a cosmic realm. Jamie Foxx will play a middle-school music teacher on earth who dreams of [...]

  • Emma Stone Variety Actors on Actors

    First Look at Emma Stone in Disney's Live-Action 'Cruella' Drops

    Emma Stone’s Cruella de Vil is significantly more punk rock than her animated counterpart. Stone appeared via video message to debut the first look of the titular character in Disney’s “Cruella” at D23 on Saturday, also revealing that it will take place in the punk rock era of the 1970s. In the first photo, Stone [...]

  • ‘Mulan’ Star Skips D23 Press Amid

    'Mulan' Star Crystal Yifei Liu Skips D23 Amid International Controversy

    Crystal Yifei Liu, the star of Disney’s live action remake of “Mulan,” skipped the press line and Disney panel at Disney’s D23 expo Saturday in the heat of the #BoycottMulan controversy. Unlike the other portions of the Saturday Disney panel, which featured both stars and directors for the other films presented, the “Mulan” panel was [...]

  • Marvel Stars Want Tom Holland's Spider-Man

    Marvel Stars Want to Keep Tom Holland's Spider-Man in the MCU

    Marvel fans aren’t the only ones heartbroken that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man might not be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe anymore. “It really is sad. First off, he’s the greatest Spider-Man to me. He actually has that youthful energy,” Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Scarlet Witch in the MCU, told Variety at D23 on Friday. “He’s been [...]

  • Kit Harington

    'Game of Thrones' Star Kit Harington Joins 'The Eternals'

    Jon Snow is leaving the North. “Game of Thrones” star Kit Harington is joining the cast of “The Eternals” as Dane Whitman, also known as the Black Knight, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced Saturday on the main stage at D23. Feige also confirmed Gemma Chan’s appearance in the film as Sersi, another member of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content