You think you're feeling tired and overworked? Jon Stewart is so busy right now between running The Daily Show and prepping for his first turn as the host of the Oscars, he's putting his deoderant in his two-week old daughter's crib so she can have his smell near her in his absence. Okay, that's a joke - maybe. But what's not a joke is that the pressure is on Stewart to really turn it on at the Oscars, in front of a live audience packed with Hollywood bigwigs and a home audience of about 40 million of his closest friends, er, fans. An Associated Press article notes that by becoming the host of the Oscars, Stewart joins an elite list including Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, Bob Hope and Johnny Carson; Chris Rock, last year's host, wasn't mentioned on the "elite" list. So who else is in the ranks of the elite - those fortunate enough to have hosted Hollywood's Spectacular Salute to Solipsism? Cinematical shares with you some of the more interesting and notable Hosts of Oscar Past.
2. Will Rogers - Humorist, writer, political activist, all-around good-guy, and actor Will Rogers hosted the Oscars just once, at the 6th Awards in 1934. Rogers was the star of Fox (now 20th Century Fox) in his day, making 21 feature films. Rogers died August 15, 1935, in a plane crash with his friend, aviator Wiley Post.
3. Bob Hope - Hope first hosted in 1940, then went on to be the Oscar host or co host 20 times! In spite of being one of Hollywood's most prolific entertainers, Hope never won an Oscar himself; while hosting one year, Hope famously deadpanned that Oscar night was, "as it's known at my house, Passover."
4. Agnes Moorehead - Oscar didn't have a female co host until 1948, when the venerable Ms. Moorehead took the reins at the 20th Oscars with Dick Powell. There wouldn't be another female co host for seven years, when Thelma Ritter co hosted with Hope in 1955, during the five year period when the Oscars ran out of both New York and Hollywood, with a host for each coast.
5. Bob "Bazooka" Burns (1938) - Who the hell is Bob "Bazooka" Burns, and why was he hosting the Oscars? I asked the same question myself, actually. Bob Burns was an entertainer in the 1930s who famously played a bazooka - a musical instrument kind of like a giant kazoo,made of two pieces of nested gas pipe and a whiskey funnel. Bob Burns invented the bazooka, and when he went off to fight in World War One, he took his bazooka with him. His musical talent impressed an officer, and next thing you know Bob was ordered to form a Marine Corps jazz band. He did, and his band performed throughout the war and after. After Bob got back stateside, he became a huge star, sharing billing with the likes of Bing Crosby and acting in movies from 1931 to 1939. He eventually left Hollywood to become a pig farmer.
6. Friends of Oscar - Since 1988, there's consistently been no more than one Oscar host, but back in 1969, when then-Academy prez Gregory Peck got Broadway director Gower Champion to produce the show, things got a major overhaul. Champion gave Bob Hope, who had hosted the previous four years, the boot, and replaced the singular Oscar "host" with ten "Friends of Oscar" - Ingrid Bergman, Diahann Carroll, Tony Curtis, Jane Fonda, Burt Lancaster, Walter Matthau, Sidney Poitier, Rosalind Russell, Frank Sinatra and Natalie Wood. Hope came out to present one award - and got a standing ovation. The next year "Friends of Oscar" grew to 16 hosts, with Hope included in official "Friends" list. In 1971 things started to get really out of hand with the "Friends" ranks swelling to 33! After that, somebody got sensible and knocked off the whole concept.
7. Whoopi Goldberg - Love her or hate her, but there's no denying that Whoopi Goldberg deserves a
place on this list - she's the ONLY female to have hosted Oscar solo. I know, I didn't believe it either, but it's
true. Other women have co hosted, but only Whoopi has carried it alone - four times, in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2002
- also notable for being the first time Woody Allen appeared on the show - to make a speech saluting New York City in
the wake of 9/11. We've come a long way, baby...but not that far. In Hollywood, women can be naked on the cover of
Vanity Fair, but the men in suits still
leer at them creepily largely run the show,