Photo Credit: John Shearer/WireImage
We don't know who will be accepting awards on Oscars night, but we do know who will be handing out the trophies! On Thursday, the Academy Awards blog unveiled an up-to-date list of presenters for the 85th Annual Oscars ceremony. Among the A-listers we'll be seeing on that stage: Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lawrence, Ben Affleck, Meryl Streep and Channing Tatum. We love all of these people. And yet we wonder: Is the Academy really picking the presenters who are best for the job?
The main criteria for getting chosen, it seems, is prestige. That's why so many of the presenters are previous Oscar winners, including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry.
And yet, it's not like the Oscars are hurting in the prestige department. The award is the highest honor a screen actor can achieve, and the red carpet is reliably packed with more diamonds than any other.
Where the Oscars could actually use a boost is in the ratings department. Last year, the Academy Awards attracted fewer viewers than the Grammys -- and that was a good year. In 1998, over 55 million people watched Titanic win best picture; last year, less than 40 million watched The Artist achieve the same feat.
The conventional wisdom is that the Oscars aren't trying hard enough to attract young people, which goes a long way toward explaining why Seth MacFarlane is this year's host. So why not shake up the presenters as well?
As far as we can tell, Oscar presenters have three jobs: 1) looking good, 2) being funny, and 3) pronouncing everyone's names correctly. It's that No. 2 thing that too often falls by the wayside. Seriously -- Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry are flawless, but have you ever heard them land a joke from a podium? Bullock and Streep, on the other hand, are hilarious at awards ceremonies, and equally flawless. If it were up to us, Sandy and Meryl would do all the talking.
Actually, there are tons of worthy entertainers who seem to have been overlooked as presenters. (Or maybe they just turned the gig down?) Tina Fey and Amy Poehler killed it at the Golden Globes, which probably means that MacFarlane banned them from the Oscars in a jealous rage -- but wouldn't it be better if they showed up and everybody made a joke out of it? Emma Stone, also absent from the list, is one of the few celebs who can invariably make teleprompter banter sound natural. Kristen Wiig is always terrific, particularly paired with someone on a similar wavelength (like Will Ferrell at the Golden Globes). How about Melissa McCarthy, who proved her live-audience skills on SNL? Why not pair Channing Tatum with Jonah Hill, who so effectively brought out his lighter side in 21 Jump Street?
And seriously: no Quvenzhane Wallis? If best actress nominees Lawrence and Jessica Chastain can present, then surely the cutest 9-year-old in Hollywood (and youngest-ever nominated actress) deserves a moment in the spotlight.
On the positive side, we're hopeful that some of the Academy's ideas will pay off -- like having the stars of The Avengers present together (Robert Downey Jr. + Mark Ruffalo = awesomeness), and reuniting the cast of Chicago for the film's 10th anniversary. (They'd better sing!) And who knows -- maybe MacFarlane has some surprises up his sleeve. We only hope one of them is a full-scale, Sharks vs. Jets-style face-off with Tina and Amy. May the best hosts win!