Poor shiny Oscar; everyone has their eyes on him, but no one really loves him. It's a tradition at this point for every major media outlet to assign someone on staff to watch the annual Academy Awards ceremony and write the next morning about how disappointing the host was, no matter what happens during the broadcast — some of those articles have probably already been pre-written for the 2009 awards (which air in March 2010), even though the host hasn't been determined yet. Maybe that relentless criticism of whoever volunteers to shepherd the always-bloated ceremony explains why no one wants to do it this year. Last year's host, Hugh Jackman, has already announced that he refuses to take the role again this year, though he won't rule out future years. Entertainment Weekly wrote a glowing report that claimed Ricky Gervais was the frontrunner for the gig, but then he took on host duties at the Golden Globes in January 2010 instead.
And now CinemaBlend is reporting that Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. were just officially offered the job as a duo, and they refused as well. That might be because Downey is avoiding overexposure or possible bad buzz, with Iron Man 2 and Sherlock Holmes both coming up. Or maybe just because it's a thankless job.
So who's on deck next? Naturally, Neil Patrick Harris is getting some buzz, after tackling the Tonys, the TV Land awards, and this year's Emmys; clips of him singing and dancing in hosting roles have been big hits on YouTube. (We hope he gets the Oscar gig and then does the whole show in character as "Neil Patrick Harris" from the Harold & Kumar movies. And then proceeds from there to host every remaining awards show for all time.)
But E! Online recently consulted Vegas oddsmaker Johnny Avello to set odds on the next host, and his frontrunner (at 5-to-2) is good ol' Billy Crystal yet again. Which seems unlikely, given that this year's producers, Adam Shankman (Hairspray director and So You Think You Can Dance judge) and Bill Mechanic are looking at younger, more currently popular types like Stiller and Downey. But who knows, they may be running out of choices. Also high on Avello's odds list are various other past hosts: Jon Stewart at 3-to-1, Ellen DeGeneres at 4-to-1, and Chris Rock at 5-to-1. (NPH comes in lower, at 8-to-1.)
Any further theories out there? At this point, the "Oscar host search at 0 for 4" story is getting enough play in the media that it behooves Shankman and Mechanic to make someone an offer and get the host role settled as soon as possible, to avoid further public ruminating on why people keep rejecting the position; even if no one likes their choice, naming an actual host will at least start us all focusing on something besides schadenfreude.