Guest Author - Amber Grey
What is the formula of a good Oscar host? A good host is able to guide the show with enough personality in order to keep the momentum of the show from lagging. But a good host also knows the show isn't about "them" and they must know that occasionally, they will be required to improvise, as only the unexpected can happen.
It was on May 16, 1929 that the first Academy Awards took place at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The hosts were actor Douglas Fairbanks and William C. DeMille. However, the first Academy Awards was not broadcast on the radio. Instead, it was intended as a private dinner to hand out the awards to the winners that were announced three months prior to the ceremony. As a result, there was not a lot of pressure to keep the room entertained because the ceremony only lasted 15 minutes.
But the pressure was on for actress Whoopi Goldberg who hosted the Oscars or the fourth time in 2002. The 74th Academy Awards will be remembered as the longest Oscar ceremony ever with four hours and 23 minutes. Despite her best efforts, the lavish telecast was not in its celebratory spirit because it was the first Academy Awards after the 9/11 attacks.
The record holder for most Oscars hosted is by comedian Bob Hope after hosting the Oscars 18 times. He first hosted in 1940 when the American Civil War epic "Gone With The Wind" (1939) took home 10 awards that night. Although there was not a host for the 41st Academy Awards, Hope opened the show with, "Welcome to the Academy Awards. Or as it's known at my house." A close second to Hope is Billy Crystal with 9 times and a distant third is comedian Johnny Carson with hosting the Oscars 5 times.
In an attempt to attract a younger audience into watching the Awards show, The Academy elected actor James Franco and actress Anne Hathaway for the 83rd Academy Awards. That year, Franco was nominated Best Actor for his performance in "127 Hours (2011). After the broadcast, the show was met with harsh criticism. Most of the critics praised Hathaway's lively energy but judged Franco's attitude, branding him as boring or possibly "high" during the program. For the 2012 Oscars, the 9-time host and comedian Billy Crystal hosted, as he is one of the much-beloved favorites in the history of the Oscar hosts.