The 10 Best Oscars Hosts of All Time

When the annual award season rolls around these days, it's always a wonder whether or not the season's biggest shows will have a host, and that's certainly the case for the Oscars. Hollywood's biggest night has been hosted by some of the entertainment industry's comedic giants, from Billy Crystal (nine times) to Whoopi Goldberg (four times). Still, following a 2019 scandal around planned host Kevin Hart, the Oscars announced there would be no official host for the 91st Academy Awards that year. Instead, an array of celebs took turns moving the ceremony along, cracking jokes in between, and doing their usual presenter duties. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the no-host format rolling over to 2020 and 2021 by default.

Luckily for viewers, things got back to normal in 2022 when the comedic trio Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes were chosen to guide the ceremony, and the 95th Academy Awards on March 12 will see Jimmy Kimmel return as host for the third time. But who are the most iconic Oscars hosts of all time that viewers will remember for years and years to come? Read on to find out.

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Ellen DeGeneres

Ever the professional host, Ellen DeGeneres ran the show during the 2007 and 2014 Oscars. Her most memorable stunt? Orchestrating that impossibly star-packed selfie on her second turn around.

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Johnny Carson

The beloved late-night host took on the Oscars gig five times, including four years in a row from 1979 to 1982. By the time he hosted again in 1984, his monologues were finely polished to tweak at the films as much as turning the humor on himself, as he did to make fun of his own failed marriages with puns about the nominated films.

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Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel's year at the Oscars is more remembered for the biggest screw-up in Oscars history, but the emcee of the 2017 ceremony held his own long before the best picture mix-up, with casual but pointed jabs at the film industry and the little-seen films nominated that year. Kimmel will return to host the 2023 Oscars on March 12, 2023.

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Hugh Jackman

You can't beat Hugh Jackman, who hosted in 2009, for sheer charm. Long before "The Greatest Showman," he proved his chops at hosting Hollywood's greatest show with this opening number, supported by cardboard props and a surprise Anne Hathaway cameo.

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Jon Stewart

Not only did Jon Stewart's 2006 opening bit pay homage to (and mock) classic openings of the past, but it also playfully skewered the year in current events and film — exactly how an Oscars opening should go!

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Whoopi Goldberg

Hosting the Oscars tends to be a bit of a boys' club, but Whoopi Goldberg hosted the ceremony four times through the '90s and early '00s, typically with a balance of topical humor and wacky bits (often complete with costumes to match).

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Chris Rock

Never one to shy away from controversial jokes, Chris Rock's hosting gigs have typically come with gut-punch jokes about current events (see: his 2016 monologue skewering #OscarsSoWhite) alongside the usual roasting of the night's nominees.

At a show at the Arizona Financial Theatre in downtown PhoenixIn, Arizona, in August 2022, Rock said he declined an offer to host the 2023 Academy Awards following the now infamous moment Will Smith slapped Rock during the 2022 ceremony for joking about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. According to a Arizona Republic report, he reportedly joked that hosting the ceremony would be like returning to the scene of a crime.

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Neil Patrick Harris

He only has hosted once (in 2015), but boy, did he make an impression. Neil Patrick Harris's song-and-dance opener took the place of the traditional comedy monologue but kept the biting jokes coming — all to a jaunty tune.

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Billy Crystal

For the modern Oscars, the host who seems to be most associated with the ceremony is Billy Crystal. Like many hosts of years past, his comedy routines have grown a little dated with time, but the balancing act between a love for the movies and a love for skewering Hollywood's sillier tendencies is ageless.

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Bob Hope

The Golden Age entertainer hosted the Oscars more than anyone in history, overseeing a grand total of 18 ceremonies. Although some of his jokes read as pretty dated now, his old-fashioned humor is a symbol of the classic Oscars vibe.