Oscar hires Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin … Huh?

November 4, 2009

martinThey aren’t exactly Laurel and Hardy, or Hope and Crosby, or Lewis and Martin (that’s singer Dean) or even Rowan and Martin (as in Laugh-in’s Dick Martin). So when Oscar organizers on Tuesday named Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as the co-hosts of the upcoming Academy Awards, it left more than a few Hollywood watchers scratching their heads. You can read the story here.

After all, their only two pull quotes from the press release issued by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ranged from Martin’s mildly funny “I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy Alec Baldwin,” to a decidedly mixed statement from Baldwin, “I don’t play the banjo but I’m thrilled to be hosting the Oscars — it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Baldwin’s first reference is, of course, a joke about Martin’s love of the banjo, but the last half of the baldwinstatement sounds rather serious.

It seems like salt and pepper, oil and water, but maybe that’s exactly what Oscar organizers are hoping for. And, if nothing else, it looks to generate some publicity and maybe even some controversy given Baldwin’s history with social and political activism. Yet, no matter how you slice it, it’s an odd pick and left more than one or two Hollywood publicists scratching their heads in Hollywood.

So, we leave it to you. Martin (the standup comedian) and Baldwin (the actor) co-hosting the world’s top film awards. Good choice? Bad? Or somewhere in between, which in some ways would be the worst choice of all because it might not elicit any reaction. And if they were successful, could it be a new comedy team: Martin and Baldwin? Or would it be Baldwin and Martin? We’d love to be a fly on the wall in that conversation among Hollywood agents.


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I think this is a great combo to host the Oscars together, unfortunately I haven’t watched an Awards show in at least 5 years.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

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Posted by Critics’ views: The Oscars hosts | Report as abusive

Good choice! No reason to expect them to be a team, or to view them as such. Real test will be how they perform; they offer differing talents, and each will likely do well. The only valid reason for questioning the choice in advance is to speculate whether they will attract viewers who wouldn’t ordinarily tune in. Martin fans, like me, will welcome any opportunity to see him in action, and Baldwin will bring in a completely different set of fans. Your implication that salt and pepper, or oil and vinegar, don’t go together makes no sense at all. Aren’t both pairs famous for doing exactly that?

Posted by Fred Martin | Report as abusive

How wrote this? Steve Martin WAS a stand up comedian who later moved into acting in the 1970s (that’s OVER 30 years)! Until Jim Carey came along, there was NO physical comedian that could touch him during this period. “All of Me” with the inimitable Lily Tomlin was hysterical, as was “Trains, Planes & Automobiles” with the wonderful (person) John Candy, and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” with the very versatile Michael Caine. I wasn’t a big fan of The Jerk, but many, many fans loved it. At least let’s say that Steve Martin is a Comedic Actor (who also does some drame). Now, about Alec Baldwin: doesn’t he star in a COMEDY T.V. series, “30 Rock?” (that would make him at least an actor who also does comedy). I think they will definitely show a point/counterpoint” as regards their style. Let’s see what the WRITER’S give them. (hopefully THEY will understand who they are writing for…) BTW, all the comedy teams you say they “are not,” WERE comprised of one rather slapstick personality and one straight man!

Posted by Carole | Report as abusive

It should be good. Steve Martin has had some hits and misses when he’s hosted the Oscars before but I always like seeing him. Baldwin and Martin should make an interesting double act. We’ve just compiled our Top 10 Steve Martin films here: http://www.top10films.co.uk/archives/146

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

11/29/09My name is Lynne Margulis. I live in Fresno, California.I have been trying to reach you, however, I can’t find any direct way to do so, which I certainly understand.I have been a volunteer at our small local Fresno Art Museum for the past 22 years. We have come upon very hard times and may have to close after 60 years. I have read that you are an art collector and artist and I am asking if you would possibly consider providing an evening of comedy and art as a fund raiser for our beautiful, but small Modern Art Museum in Fresno. I know that you are a very busy man and probably will never receive the request, however, I am throwing out my Christmas Wish and hoping someone will see it.Thank you for your time.Sincerely,Lynne Margulis 559-313-3131Fresno Art Museum 441-4221

Posted by Lynne Margulis | Report as abusive