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Will Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin be winning Oscars hosts?

November 4, 2009 | 10:24 am

Steve Martin Alec Baldwin Oscars Entertainment News 2468097 Tuesday's announcement of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as hosts of the Oscars was generally well-received by the other Oscar bloggers. While Tina Fey remains on the wish list of several commentators, most are pleased with her "30 Rock" co-star Baldwin as a substitute. And they are enthused over Martin making a third appearance as an emcee at the Oscars.

Sasha Stone (Awards Daily) admits she is as excited about Adam Shankman co-producing as she is about the choice for hosts. "If he [Shankman] can bring even half of the excitement of 'So You Think You Can Dance' to the Oscars it will be a great show. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will be reason enough to watch. Good calls all around."

Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly) raves, "I for one say Hallelujah! They’re both adept comedians who’ll certainly play off each other well. Their upcoming romantic comedy with Meryl Streep, 'It’s Complicated,' stands to be one of the highlights of the holiday movie season (not to mention a dark horse for a Best Picture nomination). And for telecast coproducer Adam Shankman and the Oscars themselves, they’re a combination of something old and something new."

Steve Pond (The Wrap) notes, "they may not have the song-and-dance chops of Hugh Jackman -- though Martin showed off some fancy moves in 'Pennies From Heaven' -- but at least one of them should help make things easier for the show's rookie producers." As he explains, "the two previous times he hosted the show, Martin was the most easygoing emcee imaginable. Where other often hosts sweated over their material, kept rehearsals closed and enforced an air of secrecy that verged on paranoia, Martin routinely tested his monologue in rooms full of staffers. He also drove to the theater in his own car and required little of the special treatment routinely granted to Oscar hosts."

Greg Ellwood (Hit Fix) thinks "the duo are also a very safe choice in a year where there is much uncertainty in how the ten nominee system will work out as well as whether mainstream hits will finally get recognized. The Academy obviously didn't want to rock the boat too much, but don't think they didn't approach the Will Smith's and the Robert Downey, Jr.'s of the world to host the show.  Most importantly, a veteran like Martin also should make it easier on first time producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman who have never tackled anything in their careers like this before." 

Jeff Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere) admits, "I'm almost excited. They're both wordsmiths -- the pithy, erudite, dry-witted Martin vs. the pugnacious, slightly testy, vaguely-angry-all-the-time Baldwin. So it'll be a competition all the way. They'll be on each other's back and will call each other's bluff. If Martin takes the humor or commentary in a certain direction that doesn't quite pan out, Baldwin will immediately zap him and course-correct. And vice versa."

Steven Zeitchik (Hollywood Reporter) observes: "Younger hosts tend to draw lower ratings, while older ones bring in strong numbers.This is hardly surprising when you consider that the median age of the Oscar viewer last year was nearly 50 (49.5, to be exact). When it comes to using a host to bring in viewers, the conventional wisdom may be to go younger to expand viewership. But the numbers show that younger viewers won’t come running even if you go younger with a host -- all it does, instead, is alienate some older viewers. So from a pure ratings standpoint (not, of course, an ad-demo one) it’s actually smarter to go older and at least solidify the base."

Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood) allows, "While I’m delighted with this duo of TV veterans -- both sophisticated, smart, witty actors who are fast on their feet in a live situation -- clearly it is also in their interest to host this year. Both are starring in the Nancy Meyers holiday comedy 'It’s Complicated,' and Baldwin also has a weekly sitcom '30 Rock.'"

And Nathaniel Rogers (The Film Experience) says, "I rather like the idea of two very funny men, who've already worked together, hosting the Oscars." However, he cautions, "it does set up a rather unusual circumstance for the big night, though. It's not often that the the movie industry's biggest night feels like one movie is sponsoring the show in which they aren't allowed to advertise. But this year one movie essentially will."


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Photo credit: NBC

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