The Top 10 Best Oscar Hosts, Ranked

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Written By Maya Cantina

Hosting the Academy Awards is a tough gig, and it’s not for the faint of heart. However, these ten Oscar hosts stand out as some of the best to emcee one of the biggest nights in Hollywood. Spanning back over 90 years, many have hosted the iconic award show, but these are the top ten of the bunch.

(Image credit: ABC)

10. Jimmy Kimmel

Hosting in 2017, 2018, 2023 and 2024, Jimmy Kimmel has proved himself as a formidable frontman for The Oscars. While the late-night host has called hosting “a fucking nightmare,” there’s no denying that he’s good at it, and he knows how to handle all the ups and downs of this ceremony. I mean, he is the man who had to deal with the La La Land and Moonlight fiasco. Now, Kimmel is hosting for the fourth time, emceeing the night for the 2024 Oscar nominees, and I’m sure this consistent king will kill it.  

The Top 10 Best Oscar Hosts, Ranked

(Image credit: Oscars)

9.  Jon Stewart 

While Jon Stewart hosted The Daily Show for 16 years (and recently came back to lead the Comedy Central hit), he also took a spin at hosting the Oscars in 2006 and 2008. During his first year leading the ceremony, they did a skethc where multiple of the hosts mentioned on this list turned down the job, and eventually they landed on Stewart.

Well, I’m happy they did, because he used his satirical humor, which is typically used to poke fun at politics, to make the Academy Awards audience laugh. Then he was asked back in 2008, where he used his talents to address the ‘08 writers’ strike in a funny, yet hard-hitting way while honoring that year’s winners.

The Top 10 Best Oscar Hosts, Ranked

(Image credit: Oscars)

8. Chris Rock

Long before Will Smith slapped Chris Rock and that took over the internet, the stand-up comedian hosted the Academy Awards, and his work was met with love. Hosting in 2005 and 2016 – where he took on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy with lots of jokes and gusto – the actor brought his signature confident comedic style to the biggest stage in movies, calling out the people in Hollywood who hold the power while also making the crowd and viewers laugh.

The Top 10 Best Oscar Hosts, Ranked

(Image credit: Oscars)

7.  Steve Martin

We’re all aware of the fact that Steve Martin is one of the best to ever host Saturday Night Live. It turns out those skills are transferable, because he was also a fabulous Oscars host in 2001, 2003 and 2010 (when he co-hosted with Alec Baldwin). Beloved for his silly goofy movies and TV shows, Martin brought that energy to the Oscars stage as he helped lead the evening and make fun of the night’s nominees. 

The Top 10 Best Oscar Hosts, Ranked

(Image credit: Oscars)

6. Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson is undoubtedly one of, if not the best late-night host ever. However, he’s also a formidable Oscar host, unsurprisingly. The longtime host of The Tonight Show led the Academy Awards five times – in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1984. Poking fun at the nominated movies and himself, Carson brought the charm we knew and loved from late-night, and he used it to emcee the ceremony mastefully.

The Top 10 Best Oscar Hosts, Ranked

(Image credit: Oscars)

5. Hugh Jackman

What else is there to say, he “is Hugh Jackman,” and he brought all his charm, wit, good looks and dancing shoes to the 2009 Oscars. Best known at the time for being Wolverine, Jackman reminded everyone that he’s also a wickedly talented song-and-dance man, and his homemade opening number (which featured Anne Hathaway!) was super fun, bubbly and very memorable. 

It’s also worth noting that this gig helped Jackman land The Greatest Showman, which is one of Jackman’s most beloved movies

The Top 10 Best Oscar Hosts, Ranked

(Image credit: Oscars)

4.  Ellen DeGeneres 

While Ellen DeGeneres hosted The Oscars for the first time in 2007, she cemented herself as one of the best when she led the ceremony in 2014. Along with a solid monologue and great quips, the big reason why the former talk show host is known as a great Academy Awards host is because of that epic Oscars selfie she orchestrated that broke the internet. 

The Top 10 Best Oscar Hosts, Ranked

(Image credit: Oscars)

3. Bob Hope

The first televised Academy Awards aired in 1953, and it was hosted by comedy legend Bob Hope, who had emceed the evening six other times before that. To this day he holds the record for hosting the most, as he’s helmed the show a whopping 19 times (radio: 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1954 and 1956, and televised: 1953, 1955, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1975 and 1978). 

Throughout his run hosting the Oscars, Hope shared the job with other legends, including Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, Jack Lemmon and more. He also led the show by himself 14 times. It can be argued that he set the precedent for what is expected from an Academy Awards host, and let’s just say he set the bar very high. 

The Top 10 Best Oscar Hosts, Ranked

(Image credit: Oscars)

2. Whoopi Goldberg

Hosting The Oscars four times in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2002, Whoopi Goldberg won over audiences with her charm and wicked sense of humor. Along with some of Goldberg’s best movies making a splash at the ceremony – like The Color Purple and Ghost – the actress and comedian also made her mark by hosting. The Academy Award winner is remembered for her over-the-top outfits, like the Moulin Rouge! outfit she wore in 2002 or the Queen Elizabeth I costume from 1999, and that mixed with her incredibly smart comedic style made her a great choice for the hosting job. 

The Top 10 Best Oscar Hosts, Ranked

(Image credit: Oscars)

1. Billy Crystal

Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars nine times (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2012), and there’s a reason he was asked back over and over again. 

For example, in 1997, he interacted with Yoda, and in 1998, he entered on the Titanic, and then proceeded to introduce the night’s nominees through song. The year 2000 brought a bit about looking back at 100 years of film, and 2004’s ceremony featured parodies of movies like Something’s Gotta Give and Seabiscuit

All this is to say that Billy Crystal’s best moments hosting the Oscars are some of the best overall, and that’s why he is number one on our list.

Overall, there have been so many legends to lead us through the Academy Awards, and from Billy Crystal to Whoopi Goldberg to Jimmy Kimmel and more, they all deserve their flowers. 

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