Let’s have a woman host the Oscars! That’s the rallying cry of a large group of commentators who want to see an immediate reaction to the Weinstein-CK-Lauer-Rose-Franken-Keillor-Spacey-Levine-Lasseter-etc. sexual harassment debacle-scandal-tragedy-epidemic. A woman Oscars host is a great bright idea making its way around, and there are obviously many talented women who would do an outstanding job. (Go no further than watching the dynamic Tina Fey-Amy Poehler duo slay George Clooney at the Golden Globes to see what could be. Then they got serious going after Bill Cosby.) But there is a challenge to the female Oscars host idea — and it’s not the lack of talent.
The challenge is that the regular places where producers look for hosting talent — among late night talk show hosts and movie star comedians — have been particularly unhospitable to women. Superstar Samantha Bee is the only woman who presently has a major time slot in late night (see Full Frontal above), and there is only one female comedian — the remarkable Amy Schumer — among the Top Ten earners in comedy. Sure, Jimmy Kimmel did a credible job last time at the Academy Awards. And he’s sensitive to the current inequality issues on a lot of fronts. But he’s a man. And face it, though he’s grown as a performer, Kimmel got his big break on something called The Man Show — and it’s just what it sounds like. To find a female host for the Oscars wouldn’t be hard. But it would be much, much harder than it should be. And that’s exactly the problem people want a solution for, a solution where a woman host could be a start.