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The Last 10 Academy Awards Ceremonies, Ranked

What was the worst Oscars ceremony in recent memory? (Hint: It won't shock you.) And which was the Freshest? Find out in our definitive ranking of the past decade's Academy Awards.

by | April 21, 2021 | Comments

83rd annual Academy Awards presenters Anne Hathaway and James Franco

(Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

As we near the end of a bizarre, pandemic-shaped awards season, this year’s Academy Awards ceremony makes no promises — except that masks will be required attire.

The program, taking place on Sunday (two months delayed from its original date), is produced by Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher, and Jesse Collins, who sent a letter in March telling nominees that Zoom appearances will not be allowed, according to People. The in-person event will take place at both Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood – as well as at satellite locations across the planet – and nominees who choose to attend are encouraged to wear not-casual attire.

“We’re aiming for a fusion of Inspirational and Aspirational, which in actual words means formal is totally cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not,” the letter said.

With a slimmed-down attendee list of only presenters, those nominated, and their guest and the event being treated “as an active movie set” in terms of COVID protocol, producers must have something truly unusual planned, and we’re eager to see how it stands up to past events.

While we wait to see what’s in store on the 2021 red carpet and during the event spectacle, we’ve had a look at the Oscars events of the past decade and ranked them below from best to worst. So does anyone beat Anne Hathaway and James Franco as hosts of the worst Academy Awards ceremony in the past 10 years? Read on to find out.


1

Critics Consensus: Returning host Chris Rock addresses the #OscarsSoWhite controversy with cutting insight and a cathartic warmth during one of the strongest Oscars ceremonies in years.
Director: Glenn Weiss
Writers: Billy Kimball and Dave Boone

2

Critics Consensus: Strong musical performances, a steady, somewhat sluggish pace, and a few genuinely surprising moments helped the host-less 91st Oscars create an entertainingly efficient — if not entirely satisfying — ceremony.
Director: Glenn Weiss
Writers: Jon Macks, Mitchell Marchand, Mike Reiss, Matt Roberts, and Beth Sherman

3

Critics Consensus: Jimmy Kimmel’s wry wit elevates a highly political 89th Oscars ceremony that culminated in an awe-inspiring fiasco that may have been mortifying in the room, but proved to be unforgettable on the screen.
Director: Glenn Weiss
Writers: Billy Kimball and Jon Macks

4

Critics Consensus: Ellen Degeneres breaks the internet with a record-setting selfie, impromptu pizza, and a genial warmth that smoothly pilots an Oscars ceremony free of glaring gaffes — if a little bereft of spontaneity.
Director: Hamish Hamilton
Writers:  Kristin Gore, Amy Ozols, and Jon Macks

5

Critics Consensus: The 90th Oscars played it safe and hit no major snags — but by clocking in at over four hours, returning host Jimmy Kimmel and company wore out their welcome long before the night’s conclusion.
Director: Glenn Weiss
Writers:  Jon Macks and Carol Leifer

6

Critics Consensus: Despite Billy Crystal’s strong hosting reputation, the 84th Oscars flounders under flat jokes and lifeless producing.
Director: Don Mischer
Writers:  Jon Macks, Dave Boone, and Carol Leifer

7

Critics Consensus: Parasite‘s sweep and some strong performances — including the singular Janelle Monáe’s opening number — couldn’t save a listless ceremony from its own host-less chaos.
Director: Glenn Weiss
Writers:  Jon Macks, Amberia Allen, John Hoffman, Agathe Panaretos, Beth Sherman

8

Critics Consensus: Awards season pro Neil Patrick Harris is uncharacteristically stilted during a sedate 87th Oscars that can’t seem to grapple with controversy or execute a decent gag.
Director: Hamish Hamilton
Writers:  Greg Berlanti, Seth Grahame-Smith, Michael Green, and Andrew Kreisberg

9

Critics Consensus: The multitalented Seth MacFarlane’s appointment as Oscars host may have seemed like a surefire bet, but the edgy funnyman makes for a disappointing master of ceremonies during an 85th Oscars that is mired in distasteful jokes and misogynistic gags.
Director: Don Mischer
Writers:  Leslie Dixon, Jon Macks, and Matt Roberts

10

Critics Consensus: Anne Hathaway admirably braves her way through unfunny quips, while James Franco appears gallingly disengaged during the excruciatingly inert, completely unprepared 83rd Oscars ceremony.
Director: Don Mischer
Writers:  Jon Macks, Jordan Rubin, Bruce Vilanch, and David Wild

The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony will be broadcast at 5 pm PST/8 pm EST on April 24, 2021, on ABC. 

Download Rotten Tomatoes’ printable Oscar Ballot; cast your vote in our digital Oscar ballot.

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