Now that Eddie Murphy will no longer be hosting the Oscars, speculation as to who will take over is running high.
With news this week that producer Brian Grazer – 24, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 – is replacing Brett Ratner as producer, some have wondered Grazer will choose someone he's worked with in the past, with Tom Hanks, Steve Martin and Jason Bateman pegged as top contenders.
Those are the obvious choices. But who else might the gig go to, and thereby possibly breathe a little fresh air into the proceedings?
Here are five suggestions from The Globe and Mail.
Strength Comedy legend
Weakness He might go soft
Eddie Murphy is out, but there's plenty of legendary SNL alum to fill his shoes. First among them? Fletch himself. He'd be able to ride his status as one of the greats straight towards plenty of goodwill from the audience, although his reliance on physical comedy might get tired, even if it would be fun to see him fall into the band pit. There's also the worry Chase wouldn't fire the stinging barbs he did when he hosted in 1988. You have to be nice as host, but you can't be too nice.
Weakness Laughing too much at his own jokes
Some say Smith is the last bankable star in Hollywood. It's hard to name another actor who pulls off being as likeable to as many people as Smith does. He's also got charm and knows his way around comedy. And given that he hasn't been in a new movie in three years, hosting could help him do some advance marketing for Men in Black III. But if he brings one of his kids up on stage for a round of Smith family amazingness, lots of TVs will surely get turned off.
Are you ready to see Brian Williams (the American one) slow jam the Oscars? It's an intriguing proposition, don't you think? Williams has proven to be a fantastic straight man when he visits Jimmy Fallon's show, The Daily Show or any other venue where he's gone to make with the funny. Why would the Oscars be any different? The Academy has a strict aversion to entertainment outsiders, but after last year's Franco-Hathaway debacle, perhaps it's time to break the mould with the funniest newsman in America.
Likelihood of happening? Probably zero, but we can dream, can't we? Chappelle was arguably the most popular stand-up comedian of his generation when he left show business in 2005. Burned out at the time, Chappelle never ruled out making a comeback. What better way (for fans at least) for him to return but as host of the Academy Awards? A guy like him probably couldn't stick to the script, however, which isn't a bad thing for viewers but probably makes the Academy nervous.
Strength Universally liked
For a while there, it seemed every sentence spoken by everyone included the words Tina Fey. She had her book. She had her TV show. She had a Mark Twain prize, for Pete's sake. But those days of near-overexposure seem to be, well, over. Which means we can once again bask in the greatness of Fey, who has the ability to take swipes at people but never seem mean or petty, a prerequisite for hosting duties.
Got your own suggestion? Let us know in the comments.