The Tonight Show legend hosted for the fifth and final time in 1984. One of the most beloved hosts in Oscars history, Carson previously emceed four consecutive ceremonies, from 1979-1982. As host, Carson was known for poking fun at the length of the ceremony, remarking in 1979: "Welcome to the 51st Academy Awards, two hours of sparkling entertainment spread over a four-hour show.”
Lemmon shared hosting duties in 1958 with Bob Hope, David Niven, James Stewart, Rosalind Russell, and… Donald Duck. He went solo in 1964 and 1985, and shared duties in 1972 with Helen Hayes,Alan King, and Sammy Davis, Jr. That year he memorably presented in honorary Oscar to Charlie Chaplin, who at 82 had returned from a two decades-long exile in Europe.
Robin Williams, Jane Fonda and Alan Alda
The trio shared hosting duties in 1986, in a show that remains the third-lowest rated telecast in Oscars history. The hosts were not particularly well-received and were outshined by other stars, including Cher, who showed up wearing a two-foot-tall feathered headpiece and baring her midriff. Fonda had previously hosted in 1977, alongside Warren Beatty, Ellen Burstyn, and Richard Pryor.
Paul Hogan, Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase
The Academy chose another trio for its 1987 telecast. Hogan gave some funny advice to losing nominees: "Think of the television audience; give us a bit of variety, you know? Maybe one or two of you could burst into tears. Storming out of the building in a huff would be nice. Or what’s wrong with a bit of good old-fashion booing?” Hawn had previously shared hosting duties in 1976 with Gene Kelly, Walter Matthau, George Segal, and Robert Shaw.
Chevy Chase began his 1988 hosting duties with a dig at his colleagues: "Good evening, Hollywood phonies!"
Nine-time Oscars host Billy Crystal trails only Bob Hope (who hosted 19-times) as the most prolific host in Oscars history. The actor dominated the 90s, starting a four-year hosting run in 1990, and another back-to-back run in 1997 and 1998. Crystal most recently hosted in 2012.
When Billy Crystal wasn't hosting in the 1990s, it seemed Whoopi Goldberg was there to pick up the slack. The four-time host first emceed in 1994, and repeated the job in 1996, 1999, and 2002. She and Jack Lemmon are tied for third in the most times hosting.
David Letterman may be the master of The Late Show, but his 1995 turn as master of ceremonies for the Oscars was widely panned, with The New York Times titling its review of the show "The Winner Isn’t David Letterman." He is routinely listed as among the worst Oscars hosts, with many citing his acerbic tone as the problem.
Three-time Oscars host Steve Martin first took the reigns in 2001, and returned two years later. He teamed up with Alec Baldwin in 2010.
Chris Rock took his turn as Oscars host in 2005, where he joked that the Academy Awards ceremony doesn't actually feature any acting. "The only acting you see at the Oscars is people acting like they're not mad they've lost," Rock said.
The Daily Show host traded in his desk for a stage in 2006 and again in 2008, when he joked about the writer's strike that had torn Hollywood apart. "Tonight, welcome to the makeup sex," he said in his monologue.
Once and future host Ellen DeGeneres has been tapped for the 2014 telecast. Her 2007 gig was well-liked, with The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman calling her "a natural for the job" when it was announced she'd been asked back.
Hugh Jackman brushed off his Broadway skills to sing and dance his way into Oscar-viewers homes in 2009.
Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin
Alec Baldwin teamed up with veteran host Steve Martin for the 2010 telecast, and became among the most celebrated hosts of the past decade.
James Franco and Anne Hathaway
James Franco and Anne Hathaway were brought in with hopes of courting a younger audience, but the pair's performance was largely considered a flop. “I think it looked slightly manic and hyper cheerleadery on screen," Hathaway told The Hollywood Reporterin 2012. "Whether or not it was an actual failure, it was perceived as a massive failure.”
Seth MacFarlane brought his more risque Family Guy sensibilities (opening with a "We saw your boobs" song) but also managed to clean up nicely in a tux. Some of his choices were controversial, but THR's Tim Goodman declared it a win.
"To prove his many detractors wrong - those people who were criticizing MacFarlane before the show was anywhere near ready -- he could have come out and been obsequious in his praise of those participating," Goodman wrote. "What he did, however, was mix in plenty of niceties with a little bit of the Ricky Gervais bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you thing and worked the juxtaposition rather nicely."
Who better to judge the best movies of all time than the people who make them? Studio chiefs, Oscar winners and TV royalty all were surveyed as THR publishes its first definitive entertainment-industry ranking of cinema's most superlative. View gallery