5. 1983: Dudley Moore, Richard Pryor, Walter Matthau
Once again, multiple hosts proved to cause all sorts of problems. As you can tell from the opening number, the only person who bothered to rehearse for the program was Liza Minnelli, and the opening number goes off the rails as soon as the other three hosts open their mouths. The Academy took the hits in ‘83, and brought back legendary host Johnny Carson in ‘84, for Carson’s fifth and final hosting gig.
4. 1995: David Letterman
Letterman’s hosting gig is remembered for his line where he mocked Oprah Winfrey, Uma Thurman and Keanu Reeves for having silly names, and for generally being a trainwreck. Letterman is still invited back by the Academy to host from time to time, as his hosting played better on television than it did to the crowd. Still, it was clear Letterman was delivering a New York sensibility to a Los Angeles crowd.
3. 1988: Chevy Chase
Chase, never the most well-liked guy in Hollywood to begin with, opened the show with the line”Good evening, Hollywood phonies”, which didn’t play to the room or the television audience. Chase suffered from the writer’s strike, which left him with little material. Things would actually get worse next year from the Academy Awards, when they would learn who could possibly be worse than Chevy Chase.
2. 1989: Nobody
That’s right, no one is worse than Chevy Chase. In 1989, the Academy tried to host a show without anyone to emcee the program. Having an Oscar program without a host would be fine if everything ran smoothly, but when the opening number featured Rob Lowe (who had just gone through a massive sex tape scandal involving an underage girl) and Snow White performing a duet, the show quickly went off the rails. After the program, a letter signed by big names like Paul Newman, Julie Andrews, Billy Wilder and Gregory Peck called the program “an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry.” And that was an industry that had released Crocodile Dundee II and Twins in the last year.
1. 2011: James Franco
Sure, Anne Hathaway was there too, but Hathaway seemed game for the kind of manic energy the show requires. Franco, meanwhile, showed up disinterested, even though he was nominated for an award during the program. The show was an unmitigated disaster, saved only by former host Billy Crystal, who got a standing ovation for simply appearing. The Academy would later bring Crystal back to host in 2012.
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