The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Oscar co-hosts will be co-conspirators of comedy

November 3, 2009 |  4:16 pm

What's not to like about the idea of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin serving as co-hosts of the Oscars, as the academy just announced this afternoon. They're two funny guys who are still at the top of their game, always armed with a gag in their quiver, as Martin proved in the academy press release, when he quipped: "I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy Alec Baldwin."

Baldwin Baldwin does have quite a few enemies, mostly conservatives who can't stand his politics, so the academy can only hope that they'll do something really lame, like organize an Oscar boycott, which would only give the creaky awards show a whiff of hip appeal.

I hope Oscar producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman take the guys out to lunch, pat them on the back and say "See ya at the show." In other words, leave them alone and let them figure out how much material they want to do solo or together. Baldwin has a reputation of being something of a loose cannon, which frankly is just what the academy needs these days. It would be wonderful to see him wade into the audience a few times and mix it up, Jack Donaghy-style, with all the stuffed-shirt celebs that always get all the good front-row seats. 

After the schmaltzy Hugh Jackman affair last year, this is a giant step in the right direction for the academy.

Photo of Steve Martin at the 2003 Oscars by Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times; Alec Baldwin by Stuart Ramson / Associated Press