So Seth MacFarlane, post-boob song fracas, has implied he won't host the Oscars again, despite good ratings for the controversial show. "No way," he tweeted in response to a fan last night, adding on Twitter this afternoon that "The Oscars is basically the Kobayashi Maru test"—a reference to a Star Trek training test with a no-win scenario. Naturally, since we're now less than a year away from the next Oscar ceremony, and since the Academy Awards are not unlike the geek-pundit cycle of elections, a number of publications have started speculating as to who should emcee in 2014. Let's rank the choices.
1. Some combination of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Radcliffe, and Emma Stone
This could be the Anne Hathaway/James Franco combo that actually works. Indiewire's The Playlist mentioned Gordon-Levitt, the Huffington Post added Radcliffe to the mix, and Entertainment Weekly suggested Stone and Jennifer Lawrence. We'd subtract Lawrence from this group only because it's too soon after she won the thing and while she's shown herself to be a champion at interviews, when asked to do sketch comedy she's proved a little shaky. Stone, however, has been great on Saturday Night Live, as has Gordon-Levitt, and Radcliffe is convincing us that he's an adept song-and-dance man, starring on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Actually, Gordon-Levitt and Radcliffe's dancing was a highlight of MacFarlane's monologue:
Stone also proved extremely charming in presenting at last year's Oscars, rounding out a trio that brings in the young audience (two swoon-worthy guys and a swoon-worthy girl) without risking the bad taste of MacFarlane. Plus, we doubt any of these three would pull a Franco and treat the show as a piece of performance art.
2. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey
They are basically on every list and we all want to see this happen again after the Golden Globes. Done? Done.
Note their pitch-perfect Kathryn Bigelow-James Cameron joke. That's the way to make an "edgy" Hollywood joke that's a bit uncomfortable but still makes everyone laugh. If they can't do, we'd take a chance on SNL alums Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell, who were also stellar at the Globes. We also think someone like Maya Rudolph might be up for the challenge—she's getting back into variety shows on TV anyway. (Update: Fey told the Huffington Post that she wasn't going to make the leap to the Oscars. However, @SadhbhWalshe made a good point on Twitter: "Asking Tina Fey if she's open to hosting the Oscars is like asking Hillary Clinton if she's open to running for Prez.")
3. Neil Patrick Harris
This guy has done his due diligence hosting both the Tonys and the Emmys, and at this point we feel like he deserves it. While we're not sure if he's the perfect choice for the Oscars based on the demographics they want to bring in, we don't doubt that he'd put on a brilliant show. As Entertainment Weekly pointed out, his closing number at the 2011 Tonys was everything that MacFarlane's and Kristin Chenoweth's at the Oscars this year was not. It was quick-witted, funny without being mean, and showed a ton of respect for the institution without which the show wouldn't exist. Of course he had the help of In the Heights composer-lyricist Lin Manuel-Miranda. Bring him on, too!
4. Either of the Jimmys
By Jimmys we mean Fallon or Kimmel. The only reason these guys are so low on this list is that picking either would be a little too obvious. Both are well-liked amongst their peers—despite Kimmel having a similar popular-with-the-bros knock à la MacFarlane, and a lot of people still thinking Fallon is still kind of precious—yet both can still get famous people to let down their guards and do crazy things. See both of their Emmy openers:
Still, The Playlist points out a network problem: As long the Oscars are on ABC, well, NBC's Fallon, who's probably vying to go up against Kimmel in Jay Leno's timeslot some day, likely won't host. So it's all-Kimmel, and that's just too easy of a choice.
5. Louis C.K.
We love him as much as the next person, but we're not sure how the understated ethos that has made his show so critically successful would go over hosting a splashy awards show like the Oscars. He famously likes to be in control of his own material, going so far as to take a break from his television show to keep it fresh, and despite the fact that he's set to appear in more movies he doesn't seem all the enamored with the Hollywood scene. We'd condone the choice—which has been suggested multiple places—we're just not sure it's the best one for everyone involved. Guy doesn't even always show up when he's nominated for Best Actor.
6. Meryl Streep and/or Daniel Day-Lewis
These two have been suggested by both the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, but we just wonder if anyone actually thought about what that would be like. Yes, they are the Two Greatest Actors of Our Generation. Yes, Daniel Day-Lewis was surprisingly funny in his acceptance speech this year. Yes, Meryl has been known to sing and dance, lest we forget that Mamma Mia! happened. But if they host they would undoubtedly be the most important people in the room, and that is not a hosts job. The perfect host has the right amount of deference and snark, is respected by the audience but is not the audience's gods. Meryl and DDL are just too good for this job.