The 8 best Academy Awards opening monologues
On Sunday night the 88th Annual Academy Awards will celebrate the best films of 2015. Whilst controversy has dogged the awards (#OscarsSoWhite), they are still the most hotly anticipated event in the film industry.
The show is a glorious spectacle of glamour with the biggest collection of A-listers under one roof. Each year we see another hilarious host at the helm of this mighty production. A plethora of stars have taken on the challenge – Douglas Fairbanks and William C. deMille kicked everything off back in 1929, and this year, comedian Chris Rock will be hosting.
Other than holding the whole show together (no pressure), the hosts have the unenviable task of opening the entire show with a monologue. Luckily the chosen talent nearly always comes up trumps. We decided to look back into recent history and pick our favourite opening monologues.
1. Billy Crystal is perhaps the best known host of the Oscars ceremony, having hosted it a total of nine times. In fact, only Bob Hope has hosted the show more times – a huge 19! Just 10 more to go then Billy. Back in 2000, Billy started off the proceedings by showing us what the stars were thinking…
2. Four-time host, Whoopi Goldberg knows how to make an entrance. In 1999, the year that Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture, she make a grand entrance as Queen Elizabeth I herself (see above). In 2002 she had the difficult job of referring back to a year which included the terrible events of 9/11. As you can see she did so with great aplomb, redirecting the jokes back at Hollywood.
3. Just a year on Steve Martin was asked back after first hosting in 2001. His effortless manner and engaging charm make him an easy favourite. Watch his endless flirting with the audience.
4. This year’s host – Chris Rock – has hosted just once before, in 2005. In a bizarre, but completely unsurprising, topical twist, Rock immediately calls out the lack of diversity.
5. Inspired by Billy Crystal’s tradition of singing in the opening monologue, 2009 saw the talents of Hugh Jackman put to the test in this dazzling number which referenced all of the Best Picture nominees.
6. In 2013 Seth Macfarlane hosted and managed to p*ss off a lot of people. Mostly women. He batted controversial joke after controversial joke at the audience and they were having none of it (or at least pretending not to). Sexism aside, he was pretty funny. His song “We saw your boobs” was pre-recorded and introduced by William Shatner of the future explaining how Macfarlane would offend everyone in his hosting duties. Well, he got that one right.
7. Ellen DeGeneres’ opening monologue was essentially a grand scale version of her usual chat show opening monologue. Ergo, it was great. Let’s not forget this was the year of the #OscarSelfie – a good year all round.
8. This brings us to last year when Neil Patrick Harris bewitched the audience with his Tony award-worthy musical monologue.
If you want to see how not to open the biggest movie event of the year, check out James Franco and Anne Hathaway demonstrating that a lack of personality chemistry will do you no favours.
Good luck to Chris Rock this Sunday!
The 88th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcast on Sky Movies Oscars at 1:30am.