Now that we know who the next Oscar telecast producers will be -- veteran TV helmer Don Mischer and film director/producer Brett Ratner -- the big question to solve is who the host(s) will be. I think we can rule out a return by James Franco and Anne Hathaway after the drubbing they took for this year's ceremony.
Mischer was one of the producers of this year's event but has a long history of success with big events on TV, including the Emmy Awards, Super Bowl concerts and Olympic ceremonies. He most certainly learned what to do and most importantly what not to do for his next turn at bat. Ratner has never produced this type of show but has a deep love for film history and a reputation for knowing everybody in the business. Between the two of them, the presenter lineup should be glitzier than ever.
But what about the host or hosts for 2012? Here's a stable of stars associated with either Ratner or Mischer (and a few others for good measure) who might be up for the challenge.
BEN STILLER -- Has been an Oscar presenter on many occasions (remember his makeup presentation in "Avatar" makeup?) and had great success presenting/hosting on many live awards events. Ratner directed him in the upcoming film "Tower Heist" with Eddie Murphy.
KEVIN SPACEY -- Might be an unconventional choice to some but he is a great live performer who sings and does impressions (plus, he's a two-time Oscar winner). Ratner produced two of his films ("Horrible Bosses" & "21").
BILLY CRYSTAL -- An eight-time much-loved host of the Oscars who has turned down the job pretty much ever since. With a slowing career, this might be the right time for him to accept the offer again. He and Ratner share the same agent.
ELLEN DEGENERES -- Saying it was her lifelong dream, she hosted the ceremony in 2007. Mischer worked with her as host of the Emmys in 2001.
WILL SMITH -- If they want an international superstar to appeal globably, he might be a top choice. He would certainly bring a strong energy to the show. He and Ratner share the same agent.
JIMMY FALLON -- If ABC could swallow the fact that his show is on NBC, he might be suggested by Mischer because they worked together very well on the 2010 Emmys together.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS -- Always excels at these sorts of live events, having hosted the Tonys, Emmys and many other TV shows.
WILL FERRELL -- One of the top comedic actors working today and has extensive live experience from his "Saturday Night Live" days.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE -- With a film career at full speed, he also brings a wealth of live performing to the game. He has hosted/presented on the MTV Awards, ESPY Awards, "Saturday Night Live," and many other events. Would definitely appeal to a younger crowd.
OPRAH WINFREY -- Many speculated that she could be the type of host to bring all generations together plus draw a worldwide audience. With the announcement of her receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award this year, they may not want her hosting as well.
JON STEWART, STEVE MARTIN, ALEC BALDWIN, WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CHRIS ROCK -- Maybe they want to go to the well with a previous host just so they know what they're getting.
-- Tom O'Neil
Photo: Oprah Winfrey is getting an honorary Oscar in November. Will she host next year? Credit: Reuters. Whoopi Goldberg would be a known quantity hosting the Oscars. Credit: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences