The Oscars were first held 90 years ago this May, and in 1994, Goldberg made double history as the first solo female and first black host. Did the job with such wit, memorably calling Oscar “the only 74-year-old man in Hollywood who doesn’t need Viagra to last three hours”, she was invited back three more times.
Bob Hope, 1940-1978
The veteran comic film star deserved an Oscar himself for his record 19 hosting stints. And he sort of got one when the Academy awarded him a medal for his service to the show.
Billy Crystal, 1990-2012
Sally’s Harry hosted nine times, second only to Bob Hope and rebooted the gig by introducing the now familiar nominee songs, film parodies and montage videos.
Steve Martin, 2001, 2003
“Hosting the Oscars is like making love to a beautiful woman. It’s something I only get to do when Billy Crystal’s out of town.” Sharing the job with Alec Baldwin in 2010 was less successful but, in his two solo stints, Martin was hilariously irreverent. Even the crew adored him, calling him the “most low-maintenance host ever”.
She not only had pizzas delivered to peckish audience members (collecting the money in Pharrell Williams’s hat) but staged an A-lister group selfie that went viral.
Johnny Carson, 1979-1984
“Welcome to two hours of sparkling entertainment spread out over a four-hour show… I see lots of new faces, especially on the old faces.” TV’s talkshow king hosted five times and was hailed as “the gold standard” by the LA Times.
The usual standups were replaced by a song-and-dance man – and Wolverine pulled it off with infectious enthusiasm. His big musical medley with Beyoncé was a top-hatted highlight.
Misfired in 2005, but his return in the year of #OscarsSoWhite was bracingly sharp, embracing the elephant in the room with lines such as: “This year’s In Memoriam section is just going to be black folks who were shot by the cops on the way to the movies.”
Remember Mick Fleetwood and Samantha Fox at the Brit awards? This decidedly non-dynamic duo were the Hollywood version. So bad they were almost good. Almost.