13 Incredible Performances From Oscar Host Regina Hall

a collage of Regina in her various roles

After several years of hostless Oscars, the Academy is saying "Yes please" to hosts yet again. The trio leading the ceremony are Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, and, yep, Regina Hall. While Sykes and Schumer are standup comedians with plenty of hosting experience, Hall is an actress without much experience on stage or hosting. The last female actor without hosting experience to get the gig was Anne Hathaway, and the last time a trio hosted was in 1987 when Chevy Chase, Paul Hogan, and Goldie Hawn had the honor. Recipe for disaster? I THINK NOT!

You may not be a Regina Hall stan yet, but I'm here to give you plenty of reasons to join the "Hall Squall" (as I've labeled our fandom). She's spent the last two decades racking up an impressive IMDb page full of stellar comedy performances, she's got the intelligence and gravitas to lead a ceremony (she played an Oprah wannabe in Girls Trip after all), and she's BFFs with this year's Oscar producer Will Packer (which means he knows how to utilize her skills). So if you want to brush up on all the reasons why Regina Hall will be an incredible Oscar host OR if you're finding this in the post-Oscars future, consider this your syllabus.

Class is in session (and hopefully not on the racist, ghost-filled campus of her new horror film Master), and the topic for discussion is Regina Hall, comedy icon, dramatic genius, and future Best Actress winner. Here are 13 of her best performances. *cue Support the Girls confetti cannon*

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1.The Best Man (1999) & The Best Man Holiday (2013) — Candy Sparks

Regina Hall dances in a bra and panties

Regina Hall did not arrive in Hollywood like most actors (child stardom, acting schools, or internet stardom). Rather, she got an English degree from Fordham, a Master's in Journalism from NYU, and then, at nearly 30, took her first film role as a stripper in this Black ensemble dramedy about a group of college friends converging on a wedding. The role of Candy, the Audre Lorde-loving, lap dance-giving stripper was a small one, but Hall's charisma immediately leapt off the screen. So much so that when a sequel was announced over a decade later, Hall was brought back with a much larger role, that of a school administrator haunted by her past. Rarely do actors hit it out of the park on their first film, but Hall certainly did!

Watch The Best Man on Hulu and The Best Man Holiday on HBO Max.

Universal Pictures

2.Scary Movie (2000), Scary Movie 2 (2001), Scary Movie 3 (2003), & Scary Movie 4 (2006) — Brenda Meeks

Regina Hall sits in a theater with ghostface

Welcome to the Scary Movie franchise, a series of films where everything is made up and the points don't matter. Have your head cut off in one film? No worries! You'll be back for the sequel! The horror spoof franchise, created by the Wayans, is basically a parody of Scream and Scream 2 with plenty of other films sprinkled in. Hall, our fledgling actor, was cast in the original as a member of the "classic high school friend group waiting around to be murdered" posse. She was slotted in to the Jada Pinkett Smith role from the Scream franchise and died a similarly epic death. But then inexplicably, her and some of her fellow corpses were reanimated for the sequel, and she became a series staple, sticking around through the first four movies with Anna Faris, and then dipping out pre-Charlie Sheen/Lindsay Lohan sex tape in Scary Movie 5. While Hall certainly has moved into slightly more dramatic roles now, she was a full-on comedy queen to start her career.

Rent Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2 on Prime Video. Watch Scary Movie 3 on Paramount+ and Scary Movie 4 on Netflix.

Dimension Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

3.Ally McBeal (2001–02) — Coretta Lipp

Regina Hall sits in a courtroom

After a few one-off episodes on TV, Hall was brought on to the legal dramedy at the tail end of its fourth season to play Lipp, the feisty associate wooed to work under Robert Downey Jr.'s Larry Paul, in an episode where Sting (yes, the singer) is a client. Paul became a fan favorite who was set to be a major player in the show's fifth and final season. When Downey Jr. was arrested on drug charges, however, he was written off the show and Hall was upgraded to a series regular along with a largely new cast including James Marsden and Hayden Panettiere. Despite a generally positive response to Hall's Lipp, the season faltered, receiving low ratings, no awards, and an eventual cancellation. But with all the revivals happening, perhaps we haven't seen the last of Coretta Lipp.

Watch it on Hulu.

Fox

4.Think Like a Man (2012) & Think Like a Man Too (2014) — Candace Hall

Regina Hall wraps her arms around Terrence Jenkins

For much of the 2000s, Hall continued to grind away in Hollywood, making the Scary Movie sequels, and taking smaller roles in films like Law Abiding Citizen and Death at a Funeral. In 2012, however, she landed a role in this ensemble film about four women using Steve Harvey's book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man to find love. Hall plays a single mom who falls for Terrence J's Michael in the original, and it is their wedding that is the impetus for action in the Las Vegas-set sequel. Most importantly though, this is the first project between Hall and the prolific producer of Black-led films Will Packer. Clearly the two hit it off as Hall went on to star in four more of Packer's productions along with this year's Oscars which Packer is producing. But it all started here with Hall's charming performance.

Watch Think Like a Man on Netflix and rent Think Like a Man Too on Prime Video.

Alan Markfield/Screen Gems/Courtesy Everett Collection

5.People Places Things (2015) — Diane

Jermaine Clement and Regina Hall sit on a couch

The roots of Regina Hall, queen of the indie dramedy, begin here with the Sundance film about an adult, recently divorced graphic novelist, played by Flight of the Conchords's Jermaine Clement, looking for love. Hall played the love interest here, who also happened to be the single mother of one of his art students. Hall is charming, but in a role that edges into a more serious space, as she grapples with her own loss as well as his continued relationship with his ex. It's still not a true leading role for Hall, but she proved here that she could certainly handle something outside of an ensemble cast.

Watch it on Peacock.

The Film Arcade

6.Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016) — Angie

Regina King works on a woman's hair

For reasons I'll never fully understand, one year my father (who hadn't seen any of the Barbershop films) bought this DVD from the $5 bin at Wal-Mart at Thanksgiving. My entire family then watched it while home, and we were fans of the comedy (and the CeeLo Green opening song) for life. Hall arrives in this installment having skipped the first two, and plays Angie, the co-owner of the shop and leader of the half that styles women's hair. This is an ENSEMBLE with a monstrously long cast list full of big names (including Nicki Minaj, who should be cast more often) but Hall holds her own, keeping up with the comedy, while also providing some gravity for the film's more serious parts. Also, she looks great with blue hair (and should have made this list).

Rent it on Prime Video.

Warner Bros. Pictures

7.Girls Trip (2017) — Ryan Pierce

Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, and Regina Hall pose with their Flossy Posse necklaces

HERE WE GO. For the world at large, it was this Will Packer production that not only launched Tiffany Haddish into superstardom, but also the arrival of Hall into the mainstream. She played the Oprah-like guru at the center of the Flossy Posse, a group of college friends who join forces in New Orleans and Essence Fest to drink hallucinogenic absinthe, piss off ziplines, and dance-battle in wigs. Hall is the lead, the momentum, and the heart of this film, and while Haddish, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith certainly contribute greatly to the splendor of this film (one of the year's best), Hall is asked to do the most, balancing her incredible comedic chops with poignant dramatic moments, and a influencer guru air that is mesmerizing. Mr. Packer, if you are reading this PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give us a sequel.

Rent it on Prime Video.

Michele K. Short/Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

8.Support the Girls (2018) — Lisa Conroy

Regina Hall puts her arms around Haley Lu Richardson

I am still shouting off a rooftop into the void about the fact that Regina Hall was not Oscar-nominated for this pitch-perfect performance. It's Hall's first true lead, and she delivers as Lisa, the manager of a Hooters-like "brestaurant" called Double Whammies. We follow her through a single day as she balances a slew of issues at the bar (a man is stuck in the vents, a worker got a Steph Curry tattoo in the wrong place, her manager is threatening to fire her) while also dealing with her own impending divorce. The cast of supporting characters including Haley Lu Richardson and the glorious AJ Michalka (of Aly & AJ) are all having fun, but the film IS Hall. She became the first Black actress to win Best Actress from the New York Film Critics Circle and had the movie been screened more widely, I firmly believe it would have been Oscar nominated as well. I would have held a car wash to support the campaign.

Watch it on Hulu.

Magnolia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

9.The Hate U Give (2018) — Lisa Carter

Russel Hornsby, Regina King, and Amandla Stenberg speak to Common

That same year, Hall also appeared in this YA drama based on the bestselling novel by Angie Thomas. In it, she plays the mother of Starr (Amandla Stenberg), a Black high school student who witnesses the death of her friend at the hands of the police when they are pulled over for failing to use a turn signal. While Hall's role is small, she plays the concerned mother to a tee, and nails every scene she is given as she navigates the media hailstorm that follows her daughter. This is one of Hall's few purely dramatic roles, but she, of course, handles it with all the care and polish expected, something she'll carry into her lead role in Master.

Rent it on Prime Video.

Erika Doss/20th Century Fox

10.Little (2019) — Jordan Sanders

Regina Hall leans on the counter of a coffee shop

Guess which dynamic duo is back again? Yep! It's Will Packer and Regina Hall, who are this time teaming up in a comedy about a deplorable boss who bullies everyone around her until a kid with a toy wand wishes she would turn back into a kid (and of course because it's a movie WAHLAH it works). Hall is really only present at the beginning and end of the film as her character, Jordan, is largely played by her "little" version, Marsai Martin, but Hall is chewing up every scene she's got. She's chaotically rude. She's vindictively aggressive. She's shouting at anyone in (and out of) earshot. Hall knows comedy, and she can serve it even with a few scenes.

Rent it on Prime Video.

Eli Joshua Ade/Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

11.Black Monday (2019–21) — Dawn Darcy

Don Cheadle and Regina Hall stand in front of a window

After Ally McBeal's cancellation, Hall dipped her toes in a number of brief television roles including partnerships with the Wayans, Will Packer, and a lip sync battle with Lupita Nyong'o that involves a sex swing and full The Weeknd cosplay. Her return to main character status however, was in this Showtime comedy about the fictional B-league Wall Street firm that caused the infamous 1987 stock market crash on "Black Monday." Hall plays the second fiddle to Don Cheadle, who fails to recognize her efforts because she's a woman. In addition to wearing incredible shoulder-pad laden blazers and sporting some incredible wigs, Hall is given plenty of meaty roles in the three seasons as she becomes the head of the firm, winds up in jail, and ventures into '90s fashion. While the show was underwatched, and Cheadle seemed to eat up the little awards spotlight thrown in its direction, the performance is delightful and makes me hope that "Regina Hall, Emmy Winner" is in our future.

Watch it on Hulu.

Nicole Wilder / Showtime/Courtesy Everett Collection

12.Nine Perfect Strangers (2021) — Carmel Schneider

Regina Hall stands in a tent

Perhaps that Emmy will come this year for her work in the Liane Moriarty adaptation about a group of strangers who spend a week at a slightly sinister wellness retreat in California. If you weren't too distracted by Nicole Kidman's ludicrous accent and Melissa McCarthy choking on grapes, you got to witness Hall's embodiment of Carmel, the sweet, well-behaved, single mother hiding a lot of anger management issues. Hall is in lockstep with the bonkers-ness of the entire show and keeps up with the big name talent she stars alongside. Honestly, I'd watch a version of this where Hall gets to play every character in the cast.

Watch it on Hulu.

Vince Valitutti/Hulu/Courtesy Everett Collection

13.Master (2022) — Gail Bishop

Regina Hall and Amber Gray on a run

And that brings us to Hall's most recent performance in Prime Video's latest horror release set on the campus of a top tier private college in New England. Along with her much more showy and comedic performance in Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul., her work here as the college's first Black master had people declaring her the "queen" of this year's Sundance Film Festival, and she could certainly be in the hunt for awards next fall for either role. Here she largely sheds her comedic roots to play the lone Black leader on a largely white faculty as they deal with an evil force haunting the campus, something sinister at work with one of their few Black students, and a dangerous secret regarding a Black faculty member. The film tackles race with a prestige horror bent, and Hall's slow unraveling is a sight to behold. While she will presumably be channeling something different at the Oscars, she proves yet again that her talent is limitless.

Watch it on Prime Video.

Amazon Studios/Courtesy Everett Collection

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