(Photo by Eddy Chen/ABC via Getty Images)
Oscar Ceremonies Ranked: The Best and Worst Academy Awards from 2009 to 2018
The 2019 Oscars may have had trouble nailing down a host, but even with a multi-time veteran at the helm there’s no guarantee any given Academy Award ceremony goes smoothly. There’s the unpredictability of speech length that keeps run times fluctuating annually, the specific celebratory-yet-not-completely-insufferable tone that the hosts and writers must strike, the fact that there are 24 categories to squeeze into a network-mandated three hours, and the overall challenge of making an extremely rote process (presenter, award announcement, winner; presenter, award announcement, winner…) seem novel each year.
Looking at the Tomatometer scores from the past decade of Oscar ceremonies proves there is no magic formula. A veteran host like Billy Crystal can helm a Rotten ceremony as easily as a newbie like Hugh Jackman can headline a Fresh one. A snafu like the Moonlight/La La Land debacle can actually be a boon to the show’s watchability (and likability by critics), while a cringeworthy misfire like Anne Hathaway and James Franco‘s entire schtick can, predictably, earn terrible reviews.
With that in mind, take a look at how the past decade of Oscar ceremonies, from 2009 to 2018, have fared on the Tomatometer. (Yes, the Hathaway-Franco incident lands exactly where you think it will.)
Adjusted Score: 13.449%
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.
Adjusted Score: 26.92%
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.
Adjusted Score: 28.119%
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.
Adjusted Score: 34.704%
Critics Consensus: Despite Billy Crystal's strong hosting reputation, the 84th Oscars flounders under flat jokes and lifeless producing.
Adjusted Score: 31.608%
Critics Consensus: Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin share an amiable comedic rapport, but their gentle barbs do little to liven up the placid 82nd Oscars, a ceremony that can't seem to decide whether it wants to be hip for the kids or staid for the old guard.
Adjusted Score: 46.471%
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.
Jimmy Kimmel hosts the 90th annual ceremony. "The Shape of Water" leads with 13 nominations; "Dunkirk" has eight; and "Three... [More]
Adjusted Score: 53.338%
Critics Consensus: Hugh Jackman brings his trademark showman flair to an 81st Oscars that goes to great lengths to liven up the formula, but much of the telecast's innovations only serve to highlight how easily the ceremony can teeter into cumbersome spectacle.
Adjusted Score: 68.512%
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.
Honors for achievements in film take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 60.017%
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.
Adjusted Score: 75.319%
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.