By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist August 15, 2012 at 12:03PM
Why He Could Do It: An old hand getting a new lease of life at present, the veteran comic came back on the radars of many with a stunning performance in "Drive." That was too sinister to get him an Oscar nomination, but he's on warmer, fuzzier territory this year with Judd Apatow's "This Is Forty," which might be a better fit for something like the Oscars. His sense of humor is quite inside-baseball (his tweets suggest he follows the industry closely), which would play well in the room, and he's a little hipper these days than some of his contemporaries like Billy Crystal or Steve Martin.
Why He Might Not: Again, he may figure into an acting race for "This Is Forty." He's also not quite a household name among younger crowds, even after "Drive," and hasn't always sat easily within the industry; he'd gone several years without a movie until last year, and often worked more independently. And we're just not sure if he'd have any interest in doing it, even if the studios did.
Why They Might Do It: Let's not forget, the show is without a producer at this point, and one pick that might help to bring in a younger audience would be Judd Apatow. He's edging ever closer to respectability, has written for the Oscars in the past, and the actors who've featured in his films, from Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell to John C. Reilly and Seth Rogen, have often stolen the show at prior ceremonies. So why not let him assemble the whole gang (or at least a selection of three or four reliable hands) for a group show? It'd help keep things fresh, and mean that those who are too wacky to carry a whole show, like Ferrell (who's not really going to be able to announce an In Memoriam reel, for instance), could tap out for someone like Brooks or Paul Rudd, while also showcasing a younger generation of talent like Lena Dunham or Chris O'Dowd. It certainly has the potential to be the most entertaining show in a long while.
Why They Might Not: Multiple presenters have been used in the past, but never on this scale, and the Academy might feel it represented too much of a plug for the Apatow brand. The Academy doesn't mind a little irreverence, but in small measures, and Apatow and his actors would be unlikely to go in for too much of the whole "celebration of the movies" vibe. Plus, there's a chance that "This Is Forty" will be a player in the awards, which would certainly rule him out.
Why He Could Do It: One of Hollywood's most diverse rising stars, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's having a good year with "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Looper," but his skills reach beyond that. One only has to remember his version of "Make 'Em Laugh" on 'SNL' a few years back to know that there's a degree to which he's an old fashioned entertainer, and he did after all start his career with comedy in "3rd Rock from the Sun." It'd help to bring in a younger audience and keep things feel fresh in a year where a lot of the Academy fare looks like it'll skew older.
Why He Might Not: Gordon-Levitt's tied to not one, but two Best Picture contenders ("The Dark Knight Rises" and "Lincoln"). He'd also feel like a slightly odd pick on his own, and might need someone else to help him carry the can (perhaps our final choice below?). But then, let's not forget the last time a brooding, artistically inclined young actor presented the Oscars -- James Franco, who was one of the most disastrous choices in Academy history. We can't see Gordon-Levitt tanking as hard, but we doubt the Academy and ABC taking that risk again any time soon.
Why She Could Do It: Emma Stone's entirely charming and hilarious bit with Ben Stiller last year was an absolute highlight of last year's otherwise turgid ceremony, to the extent that it felt like an audition to host in coming years. She's Hollywood's sweetheart after "The Help" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" (the former of which likely helps endear her to older, Academy-aged audiences), would be able to pull off both goofy charm and sincerity, and has nailed 'SNL' hosting gigs in the past. Why the hell not?
Why She Might Not: Well for one, the Franco/Hathaway factor might be something of an issue, although pairing Stone with an older co-host might help dispel fears of that. She's also got Cameron Crowe's "Deep Tiki" set to shoot early next year, and that, plus promotional commitments to "Gangster Squad" and "The Croods," could be problematic.