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Jimmy Fallon is rumored to be the top choice to host next year's Oscar ceremony, and this is a fantastic ideas.
Honestly, the only argument I really need for this piece is the video you're going to watch below, which kicked off the 2010 Emmys-- a year, you might remember, in which Glee was a huge hit, Betty White was newly the most famous octogenarian in the world, and Jon Hamm had proved his comedy chops on 30 Rock but hadn't taken it to the next level in Bridesmaids. Keep all of that in mind as you watch the video below-- if you can keep from breaking out into spontaneous applause, that is.
I've watched this video dozens of times, and I don't even like Glee all that much, nor did I recognize Kate Gosselin or the girl from the Pussycat Dolls. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon had only been on the air for a year and a half when he got the Emmys hosting gig, and this musical number is only part of the evidence of how well he took to it. On his show, Fallon is the consummate host, making guests feel welcomed and interesting with an enthusiasm that always feels genuine-- Fallon seems to love or at least be interested in everything, and his willingness to get excited is an amazingly fresh contrast to Letterman's or Conan's cynicism; his attitude is so welcoming it's easy to forget it's kind of revolutionary.
And that enthusiasm, from a guy who doesn't really play in irony, is exactly what the Oscars needs-- someone with energy like Hugh Jackman's, humor like Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin's, musical chops like Anne Hathaway's, and Fallon's unique ability to really sell the idea that he's having a blast, despite having every reason to feel nervous. Who knows if Fallon will actually get to host the Oscars-- the latest news says ABC isn't especially enthused about the idea. But if the Academy continues to be dead set on drawing in younger viewers, they honestly can't do better than Fallon, a guy who understands and loves pop culture but avoids the urge to stand apart from it and mock it. That's the tone the Oscars are constantly trying to strike, and Fallon's doing it every night-- at the very least, he has a lot to teach them.