Even though musical numbers and presenters share the spotlight, hosting the Academy Awards is not easy. Just ask James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Between trouble collaborating ahead of the show and some awkward moments on stage, their 2011 hosting tag-team remains an all-around weird Oscars moment. On the flip side, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall had winning performances as the co-hosting trio at the 2022 Oscars. Here are some of the highlights.
Schumer, Sykes, and Hall didn’t try to do too much with the opening monologue
The start of the Oscars can make or break the entire show. The opening of the 1989 Academy Awards, for instance, was a disaster that ruined the entire evening. Hall, Sykes, and Schumer deftly avoided that minefield.
The trio displayed nice interplay during a relatively fast-paced monologue. Each landed several punchlines to jokes, but they did so while deftly setting the stage for the evening as they discussed women in Hollywood, The Power of the Dog, and Samuel L. Jackson, among others.
Instead of an over-the-top entrance, they (and the producers) settled for an understated, streamlined opening that quickly segued to the rest of the show. While some of the evening’s winners — CODA, Will Smith, Drive My Car — were conspicuously overlooked in hindsight, the light-hearted and quick-paced opening adequately showcased Schumer’s, Hall’s, and Sykes’ talents.
Segway segments were amusing and brief
Sykes was instantly recognizable as Richard Williams when she walked out in white shorts and a red sweatshirt while pushing a shopping cart full of tennis balls. Likewise for Hall when she entered the stage wearing a white gown and thick makeup (as Tammy Faye Bakker). And Schumer didn’t need an introduction as she dropped from the ceiling in a Spider-Man costume. While certainly planned, the premise was Hall and Schumer declined to dress as Venus and Serena Willams, respectively.
The skit lasted all of 90 seconds — an amusing but brief interlude in the middle of the Academy Awards broadcast.
Schumer lightheartedly poked fun of herself and a handful of the nominees just after the opening, but she also provided some sincere praise (and in sign language) for CODA. Hall and Sykes paired up to hand out consolation prizes for the non-winners (a tidy two-minute sketch), and Sykes’ pre-recorded tour of the Academy Museum was a whiplash frenzy of one-liners.
Like the opening, the hosting trio appeared to continue to have fun in their roles throughout the show.
Schumer was absent for a time but came back on screen with a doozy
The 2022 Oscars almost went off the rails after Will Smith foolishly slapped Chris Rock. Schumer was backstage during the incident, but she lightened the mood when she came back in front of the cameras.
“I’ve been getting out of that Spider-Man costume. Did I miss anything?” Schumer quipped as she walked through the crowd. “There’s, like, a different vibe in here.”
After the awkwardness of Smith slapping Rock then accepting his Oscar for best actor soon after, the show needed to have the mood lightened. Schumer’s joke, followed by a good-natured bit featuring Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst, helped quell the uncomfortable mood in the room.
Grading the three Oscars hosts
Hall, Schumer, and Sykes never hosted the Academy Awards before 2022.
Schumer’s only other awards show hosting duties came at the 2015 MTV Movie Awards. Hall helmed a few BET award shows, and Sykes hosted events such as the 2020 Trumpet Awards, 2018 GLAAD Media Awards, and the 2003 Primetime Emmys. None of them hosted anything on the magnitude of the Academy Awards.
The trio performed its duties well, especially when things got awkward, such as when the script had the hosts draw attention to ABC cutting some awards from the live show or when Smith slapped Rock later in the telecast.
Final grade: B+, for taking on the challenge of hosting the biggest award show of them all and doing an admirable job of it despite some challenges along the way.
Career vitals courtesy of IMDb.