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A Brief History of Abysmal Oscars Hosts

By Vivian Kane | Miscellaneous | February 24, 2015 |

By Vivian Kane | Miscellaneous | February 24, 2015 |

Neil Patrick Harris, 2015
NPH definitely isn’t the worst host on this list, but what really hurt was how far he had to fall. Between Dr. Horrible, Barney Stinson, Hedwig, his love of magic, or his adorably geeky family Halloween costumes, this was a man many of held very dear. By the end of the night, though, all we could see was a guy with a Colin Jost-type affinity for smirking at his own jokes (and being the only one laughing) who made Octavia Spencer REALLY uncomfortable.

David Letterman, 1995
The gold standard of Oscar host suckage was set by David Letterman in 1995, the night of the famous Uma/Oprah introduction joke. Get it? Cause their names are funny.

Other jokes included bits from his own show (like a Top Ten list), and informing the Best Actress nominees that if they lost, they would still have the consolation prize of an opportunity to sleep with 80-year old Anthony Quinn. By way of explanation on Late Show the following night he said, “Looking back, I had no idea that thing was being televised.”

Chevy Chase, 1988
Chevy had the crazy challenge of hosting the Oscars during a writers’ strike. In his opening speech, he started out by saying that the circumstances would “substantially shorten the show, since there will be nothing for anybody to say.” But that did not end up being true. From his opening off-putting (for many) line of “Good evening, Hollywood phonies,” the show was a rambling, messy three hours and 33 minutes.

Still Chevy wasn’t nearly as bad as…

That Time No One Hosted, 1989
The year after Chevy tanked, the Academy tried to see what would happen if no one hosted the show. The result was what had to be the most embarrassing moment in the history of the Oscars: Rob Lowe, fresh off the heels of an underage sex tape scandal, in a weird “Proud Mary” parody duet.

Afterwards, major Hollywood players, including Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Julie Andrews and Billy Wilder, signed an open letter calling the show as “an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry.”

James Franco (and Anne Hathaway), 2011
It’s hard to blame Hathaway for the disaster that was the 2011 Oscars, though Franco tried. Despite the fact that he clearly could not give less of a fuck about hosting the show from the first second he stepped onstage, he later claimed that was only an illusion caused by Hathaway’s extreme energy. He told David Letterman his co-host “is so energetic, I think the Tasmanian Devil would look stoned standing next to Anne Hathaway.” Nice try, Franco.

Seth MacFarlane, 2013
From songs about boobs to jokes about Clooney sleeping with a nine year old and how funny it is that Chris Brown beat Rihanna, Seth MacFarlane is and was the absolute worst.