The Oscar Hosts

Despite years of experience hosting shows (most notably TV’s The Daily Show), Jon Stewart never quite seemed at home on the Oscar stage in 2006. And though he managed moments of real comedy – such as commenting on Three 6 Mafia’s Oscar win versus Martin Scorsese’s then statuette-free status, or his opening video montage – he never connected with the audience, was skewered by most critics and brought the ceremony some unhealthy ratings.

He’s at a bit of a disadvantage this year, since he hasn’t had his writers around to help him prepare until this week.

But never fear! We've got a feeling that Stewart will take his previous stint as a learning experience and come out fresh and fighting. Because of the WGA strike, he’s spent the last couple of months working on most of The Daily Show’s material himself, so he's certainly got a bit of adrenaline running through his veins.

And he's spent enough time in the industry learning how to make the best of a bad situation.

After holding various jobs, including children’s puppeteer, caterer and busboy (he named his production company Busboy Productions in honour of his early work), Stewart moved to New York in 1986 to try his hand at stand-up comedy, getting his start at The Bitter End. It held special meaning for him as his comedy idol, Woody Allen, launched his own career there.

After bouncing from club to club, he got a job on the writing staff of Caroline’s Comedy Hour in 1989, then graduated to US network Comedy Central’s Short Attention Span Theatre. Work with MTV followed, and in 1993, Stewart was briefly considered to replace David Letterman when he left NBC – but former Simpsons writer and legendary giant Conan O’Brien got the gig instead.

The rejection didn’t set him back – he developed his own talk show at MTV, which matured into a big hit for the network, placing second in the ratings behind Beavis And Butt-Head.

But it was in 1999 that Stewart’s career really soared, when he was chosen to replace Craig Kilborn as the host of The Daily Show. Switching the show’s focus to political matters and smarter humour has been a huge success for the show and made it one of the most talked-about TV series. It’s garnered numerous awards for writing and even a prestigious Peabody Award. Stewart has also hosted the Grammy Awards and appeared (though he usually chooses to forget or make fun of his work) in several films, including Death To Smoochy, The Faculty, Big Daddy, and Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back.

Cynical folks might suggest that with that back catalogue, his only shot at attending the Oscars would be to present them - but we're not quite that mean.

We love a second-chance story, and we'll be there on the night, fingers crossed, hoping Stewart manages to translate his Daily Show form to the Oscar stage.

2008     Jon Stewart
2007     Ellen DeGeneres
2006     Jon Stewart
2005     Chris Rock
2004     Billy Crystal
2003     Steve Martin
2002     Whoopi Goldberg
2001     Steve Martin
2000     Billy Crystal
1999     Whoopi Goldberg
1998     Billy Crystal
1997     Billy Crystal
1996     Whoopi Goldberg
1995     David Letterman
1994     Whoopi Goldberg
1993     Billy Crystal
1992     Billy Crystal
1991     Billy Crystal
1990     Billy Crystal
1989     no host
1988     Chevy Chase
1987     Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, Paul Hogan
1986     Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams
1985     Jack Lemmon
1984     Johnny Carson
1983     Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore, Richard Pryor, Walter Matthau
1982     Johnny Carson
1981     Johnny Carson
1980     Johnny Carson
1979     Johnny Carson
1978     Bob Hope
1977     Warren Beatty, Ellen Burstyn, Jane Fonda, Richard Pryor
1976     Goldie Hawn, Gene Kelly, Walter Matthau, George Segal, Robert Shaw
1975     Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra
1974     John Huston, David Niven, Burt Reynolds, Diana Ross
1973     Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson
1972     Helen Hayes, Alan King, Sammy Davis Jr, Jack Lemmon
1971     no host
1970     no host
1969     no host
1968     Bob Hope
1967     Bob Hope
1966     Bob Hope
1965     Bob Hope
1964     Jack Lemmon, Tom Jones
1963     Frank Sinatra
1962     Bob Hope
1961     Bob Hope
1960     Bob Hope
1959     Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, David Niven, Laurence Olivier, Mort Sahl, Tony Randall
1958     James Stewart, David Niven, Jack Lemmon, Rosalind Russell, Bob Hope
1957     Jerry Lewis, Celeste Holm
1956     Jerry Lewis, Claudette Colbert
1955     Bob Hope, Thelma Ritter
1954     Donald O'Connor, Fredric March
1953     Bob Hope, Conrad Nagel
1952     Danny Kaye
1951     Fred Astaire
1950     Paul Douglas
1949     Robert Montgomery
1948     no host
1947     Jack Benny
1946     Bob Hope, James Stewart
1945     John Cromwell, Bob Hope
1944     Jack Benny
1943     Bob Hope
1942     Wendell Willkie
1941     Walter Wanger
1940     Bob Hope
1939     Frank Capra
1938     Bob Burns
1937     George Jessel
1936     Frank Capra
1935     Irvin S Cobb
1934     Will Rogers
1932     Conrad Nagel
1931     Lawrence Grant
1930     Conrad Nagel
1930     William C de Mille 
1929     Douglas Fairbanks, William C de Mille




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