Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Critics' views: The Oscars hosts

Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin
A double act was used for the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929

Actors Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin have been announced as the hosts of next year's Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

This follows on from actor Hugh Jackman this year, who brought a dash of Hollywood razzmatazz to the proceedings.

Columnists and commentators have been giving their reaction to the news - and what flavour they think the pair will bring to the Oscars.


Tuesday's announcement that Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will host the 82nd Academy Awards telecast brought joy to the hearts of those of us who still long for the days of Billy Crystal or Johnny Carson.

Martin and Baldwin are a most tantalising choice.

The combination of Martin's experience (this will be his third time hosting) and Baldwin's multiple Emmy-winning straight man style promises an evening of urbane wit, spot-on silliness and perhaps some banjo playin'.

Where Hugh Jackman brought a no-holds-barred theatricality to this year's broadcast, Martin and Baldwin will, one imagines, go more for deft patter and a been-around-the-block industry sophistication.


It seems like salt and pepper, oil and vinegar, but maybe that's exactly what Oscar organisers are hoping for.

And, if nothing else, it looks to generate some publicity and maybe even some controversy given Baldwin's history with social and political activism.

Yet, no matter how you slice it, it's an odd pick and left more than one or two Hollywood publicists scratching their heads.


We've no idea how this new pairing will work, but frankly we're hugely excited.

It's something fresh and different, even if the potential for Roy Evans/Gerard Houllier-style disaster is very real, and the Oscars can never have enough of both elements.

Both Baldwin and Martin - who are vying with each other for the Saturday Night Live guest hosting record - are extremely funny guys and, let's not be coy, legends.


I can hardly think of a less interesting choice the producers could have made, other than perhaps going back to Billy Crystal.

Hugh Jackman at the 2009 Oscars
Hugh Jackman gave the 2009 show a touch of glitz

But there's nothing wrong with either choice. In fact, I might have been less disappointed by the choice of either of them than I was by the choice of both of them. It feels a little redundant, and thus an especially emphatically safe choice.

I feel like I know, months in advance, exactly what the Oscars hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will feel like and look like.

It's not like it was with Hugh Jackman last year, where you can wonder about the spectacle of a Broadway star in an Oscar-show production number.

And it's not like it was with Chris Rock, who was outspoken before the ceremony about his desire to see Jamie Foxx win for Ray.

When the news hit, even though these are both performers whose work I enjoy, it felt oddly unsatisfying.

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Martin and Baldwin to host Oscars
04 Nov 09 |  Entertainment

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