Oscar's Superhosts (Mania.com)

By:Chad Derdowski
Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The 81st Annual Academy Awards will take place on February 22, 2009 and this year promises a special treat for fans of superhero films, as Wolverine will be the host. While anyone familiar with the pint-sized roughneck might question choosing a homicidal maniac to host a black tie affair, there can be no doubt that when one considers the other possibilities, the man called Logan was definitely the top mutant for the job. His overwhelming popularity was probably enough to make him a shoe-in for the role as host, but his ability to be in seventeen different places at once probably didn’t hurt either. Currently appearing in ½ the books Marvel publishes, there’s no fear that Wolverine will have to make a quick exit in order to save the world, leaving the Oscars hostless.

Also, we’re dealing with the movie Wolverine here, not the comic version. As evidenced by X3, this fatherly fellow is more likely to break down weeping than go on a berserker rampage. There’s a good chance that we’ll even get an inspiring speech or two followed by a round of hugs. Plus, the ladies love him! This guy is the best there is at what he does, and what he does best is usually shirtless and charming.

But Wolverine wasn’t the first choice! With the surging popularity of superhero movies over the past year, the Academy knew they needed someone in tights who had been the star of a recent movie, but they weren’t exactly sure who would be the best choice. Picking a host, much like choosing the recipient of one of those little golden men, isn’t something that is taken lightly; there’s a lot of thought and consideration that goes into the voting process, and quite likely a little money slipped under the table as well. Luckily for you Maniacs, I’ve got a few sources planted deep within the Academy who’ve given me some top-secret information in regards to some of the other possibilities. While some might feel the diminutive mutant killing machine might be an odd choice to host the biggest awards show in the industry, this information should shed a little light on why Wolverine is really the only choice. Here are the top five folks that didn’t make the cut:



Superman already has experience dealing with entertainers on stage...

Obviously, Superman would be everyone’s first pick to host an awards show. He’s the best known of superheroes, having been around the longest, and he brings with him a reputation for being classy and well-liked. Superman has long been regarded as being charming, witty and handsome, and he’s light on his feet, should the event call for a dance number or two. He’s an all-around good guy, the All-American kid.

But recent years have tarnished that reputation somewhat. Allegations of out-of-wedlock children and stalking have been haunting the Man of Steel since the release of Superman Returns in 2006. Plus there’s that whole “Where have you been for the last few years” thing and the obvious depression Kal-El displayed in his last big screen endeavor. Viewers want an upbeat, happy host, not someone who’s going to be mired in self pity and regret. Hence, Supes got the ax.



We know Spider-Man won't keep the mask on for the whole ceremony.

Going down the list of popular superheroes, the next obvious choice would be Spider-Man. The web-swinger has had an impressive string of hit films and has been the star of countless animated series’ and toy lines. Kids like him, parents like him and anyone familiar with his work knows he’s got a great sense of humor.

But anyone who knows him also knows that Spidey brings with him an enormous amount of baggage. Dead girlfriends and crazy old aunts are just the tip of the iceberg. One never knows where public opinion will sit on the Spider-Man issue either: One minute he’s a champion of the people, the next minute he’s the scum of the earth. The Academy couldn’t take the chance that the Oscars would be held on a week when J. Jonah Jameson was running a smear campaign. Ultimately though, the thing that put our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man out of the running was the fact that the Academy has a very strict “No deals with the devil” policy. Sorry Spidey, no dice.


The Incredible Hulk

Hulk may get suited up as a standby just in case...

The Hulk’s got a pretty solid following and was reportedly doing very well in the running. The jade giant has been quite prominent since starring in a popular television series back in the 1970’s and presumably would’ve appealed to a fairly large demographic. Men admire him for his take-no-guff attitude and women love the muscles. Kids like the Hulk because he’s kind of like a big green muppet.

Unfortunately, several run-ins with the law and a limited vocabulary are what did the Hulk in. While he’s always had a loyal fan base, even the best PR man couldn’t salvage the wreck that his career has become and god knows he can’t follow a teleprompter. I remember that USO tour he did with Bob Hope a few years back… it was a complete disaster. Hulk couldn’t remember any of his lines and ended up smashing the stage and jumping off into the distance when the crowd started heckling. Clearly, this is not what one looks for in a host.


The Joker

Would you accept an award from this man?

Everybody loves the bad boy, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is no different. Choosing Wolverine as the host of this years event is proof of that. And with the record shattering success of The Dark Knight, its easy to see why the Joker would be considered for emcee position. He’s known for being a snappy dresser and he would follow in a long line of funnyman hosts, including Johnny Carson, Chevy Chase, Billy Crystal and Jon Stewart.

Unfortunately, he’s also known for unleashing a lethal laughing gas on large crowds of people. Though it takes place in an alternate future, that scene from The Dark Knight Returns in which the Joker poisons the entire audience of a late night talk show was one the Academy reportedly couldn’t get out of their minds. That, combined with blowing up hospitals, disfiguring district attorneys and his penchant for “blue humor” ultimately convinced judges that Mr. J was not fit to host such a prestigious event.



Hmmmm...he kinda LOOKS like an Oscar Statue, don't he?

Though it’s been quite a while since his movie was in theaters and it wasn’t really a hit to begin with, Daredevil was also in the running to host the awards show. Recognized for his incredibly loyal fanbase and seen by many as the perfect mix between Spider-Man and Batman, Ol Horn’ Head was considered one of the top choices until someone at the Academy realized that having Daredvil host the show would also mean having Ben Affleck host the show. The idea was quickly discarded and never spoke of again.



I hope that this answers all your questions and clears up any confusion readers might’ve had as to why Wolverine was chosen as the host of this years’ Oscars. When one takes a look at the other folks considered to host the 81st Annual Academy Awards, it isn’t hard to see exactly how the decision was made. Clearly, Wolverine combines the best elements of all those considered for the job: the bad boy attitude, the snappy comebacks and the box office success. Just the right amount of negative press to cause some controversy (that whole Mutant Registration thing has been on the cover of US Weekly more than once this year!), but not enough to turn fans against the event. Plus, with all that hair, he was a stylists’ dream: all the top coiffeurs in tinsel town were just dying to run their fingers through that silky mane. Rumor has it manicurists from Hollywood to Beverly Hills have been lining up to do his nails. The man is in high demand and has set the movie industry on its ear. Comic book fans should be proud.

Let’s just hope he manages to keep that famous temper in check on Oscar night. Traffic in Hollywood is bad enough; we don’t need any Sentinals patrolling the area making it worse.