This Sunday will be Neil Patrick Harris’ first time hosting the Oscars. Can you believe it? He’s practically hosted every other awards show (from the Tonys to the Emmys), but now he’s in the big leagues – among such iconic hosts as Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and…Donald Duck? Yep, that’s right. The animated cartoon character actually co-hosted the ceremony back in 1958. We’re just glad we weren’t alive to witness that. But we’ve witnessed our fair share of other hosts, from bad to good. Allow us to rank them for you.
10. Anne Hathway & James Franco (2011)
Everyone was left scratching their heads when this hosting duo was announced, and Anne and James didn’t do much to allay people’s concerns. Anne tried way too hard, and James just didn’t try enough, resulting in a disastrous show that likely solidified the notion that producers should stick to comedians for the job.
9. Hugh Jackman (2009)
Sorry, Jackman. You’re a lovely singer and dancer, but this ain’t the Tonys. It was too much Broadway flair and not enough jokes.
8. David Letterman (1995)
It was the “Oprah, Uma” gag that did him in. It just went on for way too long, and Hollywood was not amused.
7. Seth MacFarlane (2013)
The Family Guy creator was an odd choice simply because we don’t see him in front of the camera much. He took risks with some edgier jokes (Such as: "['Django Unchained'] is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie.") and received a mixed response from critics.
6. Billy Crystal (1990 - 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2012)
He’s hosted a TON of times (9 to be exact), with varying degrees of success. The best part is whenever he inserts himself into the Oscar-nominated films. But when they brought him back to host the 2012 awards after Eddie Murphy dropped out, we sort of felt like he was the “safe” choice. He did play it safe, and in effect, the show was a bit boring.
5. Whoopi Goldberg (1994, 1996, 1999, 2002)
Remember when she appeared on stage in full Queen Elizabeth I regalia? She really went for it and nailed it.
4. Chris Rock (2005)
When he hosted, they had the telecast run on a 7-second delay – just in case. We know at least one person wasn’t a fan. After Chris made a joke about Jude Law, a humorless Sean Penn took the stage to criticize the comedian, calling Jude one of the industry’s “finest actors.” At least Chris stayed true to his own boisterous style.
3. Steve Martin & Alec Baldwin (2010)
Ok, so the pairing may have just been because they had recently starred in a movie together (It’s Complicated), but these two proved to complement each other quite nicely. Steve is a veteran host and knows how to work the room, and Alec is just naturally funny. They're no Tina and Amy, though...
2. Jon Stewart (2002, 2006)
The things about Jon Stewart is that he’s smart. Very smart. He deftly balanced the political jokes with his hilarious insights on Hollywood and we were thoroughly entertained. Maybe now that he's retiring from The Daily Show, it'll free him up to host more awards shows.
1. Ellen DeGeneres (2007, 2014)
Nevermind the fact that she took that epic celebrity selfie, she brought PIZZA for everyone last year. Hands down the best.
Who was YOUR favorite Oscar host? Tell us on Twitter!
Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell is remaining upbeat as he undergoes his latest round of stem-cell treatment for cancer as he is on course to be released from hospital a month earlier than planned. The Pour Some Sugar On Me hitmaker announced his Hodgkin's lymphoma had returned at the beginning of 2014 after declaring he was in remission last November (13).
The rocker took a break from touring with the group in order to focus on his health, and now his bandmate Joe Elliott reveals Campbell has been given some good news as he continues to battle the illness.
He tells Billboard.com, "The latest that I'm aware of with Viv, they were harvesting stem cells from him and do whatever they do in a Petri dish with them, and then they were gonna carpet bomb him with chemo for a week and he was gonna be kept in the hospital...
"Then they're gonna put the stem cells back in and do whatever they do, wave the magic wand and say 'Abracadabra...' We were under the impression he would be in the hospital until Christmas (25Dec14), but the last email he sent me, which was about two weeks ago, said, 'It looks like I may be able to get out of here by mid-November.'"
Trixter guitarist Steve Brown was tapped to fill in for Campbell on Def Leppard's current tour, and made his debut with the band in September (14).
Rockers the Foo Fighters closed out their week-long residency on America's The Late Show With David Letterman by performing their new single with Cheap Trick star Rick Nielsen. Dave Grohl and his bandmates, who are all huge fans of Cheap Trick, performed with Nielsen earlier in the week, as well as Heart sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson and Zac Brown - and they brought him back for their last night on Letterman's show.
The programme aired just hours after Grohl's new documentary TV series Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways debuted in America. That too featured Nielsen, recording Something From Nothing with the band in alternative music mogul Steve Albini's Chicago, Illinois studio.
Trixter guitarist Steve Brown has been recruited to stand in for Def Leppard star Vivian Campbell as the rocker completes his cancer treatment. The Pour Some Sugar on Me hitmaker announced he would be taking some time away from the group to undergo stem cell treatment in his continuing battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma, so his bandmates asked Brown to fill in.
The Trixster star made his debut with the band on Sunday (28Sep14) as part of the pre-game festivities before the American football clash between the Oakland Raiders and the Miami Dolphins in London.
Brown will also perform as part of Def Leppard at the group's upcoming concerts in California.
Campbell hopes to return to the band with a clean bill of health next year (15).
Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, One Direction, Ariana Grande, Coldplay and Iggy Azalea were among the high-profile stars who took to the stage in Las Vegas over the weekend (19-21Sep14) for the iHeartRadio Music Festival. Some of the biggest names in the music industry graced the stage in Sin City for the two-day event, which kicked off on Friday (19Sep14) with acts including Swift, Minaj, Grande and Coldplay.
Coldplay's set was overshadowed by the appearance of actress Jennifer Lawrence at the gig, fuelling rumours she is dating frontman Chris Martin, while other acts included pregnant singer Alicia Keys, who made a surprise turn on stage to perform her new single We Are Here.
Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am also made a surprise appearance onstage with DJ Steve Aoki.
Usher rounded out Friday night by bringing out Chris Brown for a rendition of his single New Flame, and the Yeah! star baffled the crowd by setting his sneakers on fire. The flaming shoes were dealt with by a stagehand who doused them with a fire extinguisher.
Iggy Azalea, 5 Seconds of Summer, Magic!, One Direction, Lorde and Paramore all took to the stage on Saturday (20Sep14) to close the festival. Calvin Harris brought out British pop star John Newman during his Saturday set, while Ed Sheeran performed with rapper Macklemore.
One-time abuse victim Rihanna's introduction to U.S. TV's Thursday Night Football special was yanked at the last minute on Thursday (11Sep14) and replaced with an interview with embattled league commissioner Roger Goodell amid the sport's ongoing domestic violence drama.
Rihanna’s Jay Z collaboration Run This Town was billed as part of the launch of the 2014 season of the CBS show, but network bosses decided the programme should open with a more serious message following the recent Ray Rice scandal.
Rice was arrested earlier this year (14) following an altercation with his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Sickening footage of the incident has since been released and earlier this month (Sep14) the sportsman was kicked off the Baltimore Ravens roster and banned from playing in the National Football League (NFL).
Goodell came under fire from the media and women's rights groups for not acting sooner in dealing with Rice, amid accusations he and NFL bosses don't take domestic violence seriously enough. The commissioner has since spoken out about the scandal, dismissing reports that suggested the footage of Rice knocking his now-wife unconscious was made available to NFL executives in April (14), and his exclusive interview with CBS newswoman Norah O'Donnell was replayed at the beginning of the Thursday night football coverage, as well as a chat with Ravens team owner Steve Bisciotti.
As a result, Rihanna's reworked Run This Town, featuring a comedic segment starring Don Cheadle, was axed.
Announcing the decision hours before the big game, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said, "We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone coverage." Ironically, the featured game was a clash between the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. Rihanna was a victim of abuse in 2009 when her then-boyfriend Chris Brown attacked her during a fight on the eve of the Grammy Awards. The R&B singer is still on probation following his violent actions.
The Weinstein Company
Sundance is long gone, Cannes sailed away months ago, and both Tribeca and the Los Angeles Film Festivals have cleared away until next year. But when one major film festival ends, another starts putting its lineup together, and this time, it's Canada's time to shine. The Toronto International Film Festival, which will run from September 4 until the 14, has unveiled the list of titles they'll be premiering this year, and it's packed with under-the-radar indies, highly anticipated returns from accliamed directors, and of course, several likely awards contenders. But with nearly 60 films all making their debut in Toronto this fall, it can be hard to pick out the good from the bad and the exciting from the ones you've probably seen before. In an attempt to simplify the decision-making process for you, we've highlighted some of the most exciting films to hit north of the border this fall.
The Imitation Game Who’s Involved: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightley, Matthew Goode and Charles Dance star What It’s About: The British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, who helped the Allies win WWII by cracking German codes, and was then prosecuted by the government for being homosexual. Thoughts: Finally, a cast good enough to convince you that math is interesting for two hours.
The Last Five Years Who’s Involved: Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan What It’s About: A musical that tells the story of a married couple’s five-year relationship – his perspective runs from the day they met to when it all fell apart, and hers from the end back to the beginning. Thoughts: The perfect example as to why you should pay attention when your theater nerd friend tries plays you cast recordings.
Foxcatcher Who’s Involved: Bennett Miller directs; Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, and Mark Ruffalo starWhat It’s About: Based on a true story, it follows two championship wrestler brothers and the tragic consequences that they face after getting involved with an eccentric millionaire coach. Thoughts: We really are going to have to come up with the Tatum equivalent of “McConaissance” sometime soon.
A Little ChaosWho’s Involved: Alan Rickman directs; Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci and Rickman star What It’s About: A landscape gardener finds herself struggling with the politics of Louis XIV’s court and her own demons after she’s hired to work at the Garden of Versailles. Thoughts: You had us at “Rickman.”
The Riot Club Who’s Involved: Lone Scherfig directs; Sam Claflin, Max Irons, Natalie Dormer and Jessica Brown-Findlay star What It’s About: A privileged young man is inducted into the “Riot’s Club,” an exclusive, wild group of young men full of debauchery and bad behavior, during his first year at Oxford. Thoughts: Look! It’s that guy from that thing! And that girl, from that other thing! I like them. They should be in more things.
Before We Go Who’s Involved: Chris Evans directs; Evans and Alice Eve star What It’s About: Two strangers bond over the course of one night in Manhattan, and the conflicts in their lives allow them to explore more about each other and themselves. Thoughts: Captain America is directing movies now!
Warner Bros. Pictures
This Is Where I Leave You Who’s Involved: Shawn Levy directs; Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, Connie Britton and Jane Fonda star What It’s About: Four adult siblings return to their childhood home after their father dies. Dysfunction and hijinks ensue. Thoughts: Does Driver say “outer space” in this? Can we re-write the script so that he does?
Men, Women and Children Who’s Involved: Jason Reitman directs; Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler and Judy Greer star What It’s About: A group of parents and children navigate the way the Internet has changed their relationships and lives. Thoughts: Well, it’s got be better than Labor Day, right?
Miss Julie Who’s Involved: Liv Ullman directs; Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell star What It’s About: Set over the course of one night in the 1880s, an aristocratic woman and her father’s valet struggle for power. Thoughts: Should we also be thinking about the “Farrellissance?”
Nightcrawler Who’s Involved: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, and Bill Paxton star What It’s About: An ambitious journalist becomes involved with the world of LA nighttime journalism, and the line between spectator and perpetrator becomes blurred. Thoughts: Oh, so this isn’t an X-Men solo film? That’s slightly disappointing.
Rosewater Who’s Involved: Jon Stewart directs; Gael Garcia Bernal stars What It’s About: The true story of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who appeared on The Daily Show before being imprisoned for five months by the Iranian government. Thoughts: This is the movie that gave us Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and for that we shall always be grateful.
The Theory of Everything Who’s Involved: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Emily Watson, and David Thewlis star What It’s About: The life and relationship of world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde from their first meeting at Cambridge through Hawking’s diagnosis through their numerous accomplishments. Thoughts: Oscar Season 2014: Alan Turing vs. Stephen Hawking in The Battle of the British Genius Biopics.
Whiplash Who’s Involved: Damien Chazelle directs; Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons star What It’s About: An ambitious jazz drummer who enrolls at a prestigious music conservatory, but must endure the brutal, intense tutelage of a brilliant, drill sergeant-like teacher in order to achieve greatness. Thoughts: Look, we’ll stop talking about this one once it finally comes out, and not a moment sooner, okay?
Broadway's Tupac Shakur musical Holler If Ya Hear Me is to close early due to disappointing ticket sales.
The stage show, based on the music of the late rapper, officially opened at New York City's Palace Theatre on 19 June (14) and less than two months after its debut, the curtain will come down for the last time on Sunday (20Jul14).
Producer Eric L. Gold made the announcement on Monday night (14Jul14), attributing declining sales to the show's ultimate demise. He says, "We are so proud to be a part of this ground breaking production... My hope is that a production of this calibre, powerful in its story telling, filled with great performances and exciting contemporary dance and music will eventually receive the recognition it deserves."
"It saddens me that due to the financial burdens of Broadway, I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway. Tupac's urgent socially important insights and the audiences' nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world."
The production reportedly cost $8 million (£4.7 million) to stage, and, after receiving mixed reviews from critics, box office figures have been declining ever since the show began previews on 2 June (14).
The rapper who chopped off his penis before attempting to take his life earlier this year (14) is looking for a career as a porn star - and Vivid Entertainment boss Steve Hirsch is interested in hiring him.
Andre Johnson, aka Northstar rapper Christ Bearer, cut off his manhood before jumping from the second floor balcony of a North Hollywood apartment in April (14). He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where his penis was successfully re-attached.
Now in a much better mindspace, Johnson wants to make a career with his 'johnson'. Asked if his manhood is still fully functioning, he tells TMZ.com, "Does it work? Can Chris Brown dance? Can Kanye West rant?"
News of his plans have reached Hirsch, who wants to meet with the rapper, stating he is "definitely interested" in casting Johnson, pending an inspection of his genitals.
Meanwhile, opening up about the bizarre attempt to take his life, Johnson admits he was high on recreational drug phencyclidine (PCP) when he chopped off his penis and jumped.
Former Oasis star Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs, Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery and ex-Inspiral Carpets star Tom Hingley teamed up in Manchester, England on Wednesday night (19Mar14) to perform at Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim's 50th birthday party. The man who replaced John Squire in the iconic Manchester band turned his birthday bash into a charity gig for Comprehensive Disaster Response Services - and it turned into a star-studded affair.
Ibrahim performed with friends and artists he has collaborated with at Manchester's Roadhouse venue.
He told NME.com, "I've never celebrated with big parties before, but, as I approached the big 5-0, I started looking at what I'd achieved, and I wanted to celebrate the musicians, the music and the people who've helped me. And I wanted to give something back."
Stone Roses star Ian Brown was in the audience for the birthday gig and told the website, "I'm lucky that I met him (Ibrahim). He's an unsung hero. Everybody says they've never met a better guitar player - you ask anybody who's collaborated with him.
"By rights, he should be swimming in a guitar-shaped pool, but he doesn't want that. For him, it's about the music. He's not in it for the dough (money), unlike 99.9 per cent of musicians."
He added, "It makes it extra special for me that this is happening in The Roadhouse, because it's where we played my first solo shows. It's got a history."