Well, the Academy really had all of their ducks in a row this year. For months, they had a director/producer on-board to run things, and comeback kid Eddie Murphy signed on to host. Of course—much like a political campaign or a wedding reception—whenever you have things set up that far in advance, something is bound to go wrong. So, you’ll never guess what happened: Something went wrong. Would-be Oscar producer Brett Ratner gave an interview where he used a homosexual slur in an offhand comment about actors who rehearse too much. Oscar promptly showed Ratner the door. However, Ratner—as the director of Tower Heist—was instrumental in orchestrating Murphy’s return to the live-action big-screen, and as a loyal castmate, Murphy quit the hosting gig. Plus, who’s directing more movies, Brett Ratner or the Academy?

Producing, of course, is no big deal: You get a tiny bit of credit if the show’s a hit, and zero blame if it bombs. The host, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish. The show lives or dies by the host: If the show is a hit, the host gets the credit. If the show is a flop, well you don’t have to tell James Franco what happens.

Last week, the Academy wasted no time calling the bullpen and bringing in their go-to closer Billy Crystal. I get it. After last year, there is no room for error. Unfortunately, they can’t afford to roll the dice. But if they could, think of the possibilities.

Here are the Tangential Thinker’s top 10 choices to host the Oscars:

10 Ellen: tried and true

9 Ben Stiller

8 Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey: their SNL-hosting skills are unmatched

7 Jason Bateman: If you saw a comedy this summer, he was probably in it

6 Will Ferrell

5 Damon Wayans: If you haven’t tuned in to Happy Endings, you should.

4 Zooey Deschanel: The New Girl is beautiful, musical and funny.

3 Neil Patrick Harris: There’s nothing he can’t do.

2 Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig: They are saving SNL, why not the Oscars?

1 The Muppets: It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights.

Well at least they didn’t go with Robin Williams and Steve Martin. Hopefully, Billy can bring some new material…

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