Over the weekend, word leaked that Oscar producers had asked Hugh Jackman to host the Oscars again this year, but he had declined, citing scheduling conflicts with his upcoming "Wolverine 2," directed by Darren Aronofsky. This has led to the usual wild speculation as to who should host, with the usual suspects trotted out, from Neil Patrick Harris to Steve Martin (again) to Ricky Gervais. We think there's only one answer: Tina Fey.
Fey has her cons. She's never hosted an awards show before, she's more known for television than movies (not that it stopped David Letterman or Jon Stewart), her show has been down a bit this year, she's one Sarah Palin Presidential run away from becoming a controversial culture figure. But those are extremely small; those are tiny little scars on a left cheek that no one really notices.
Fey, in every other aspect, is perfect. Put aside the tired "we need some diversity in the Oscar hosting spot," considering the role has had more diversity over the last 10 years (Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen Degeneres) than any other aspect of Hollywood. Fey has clearly established herself as this generation's Woody Allen, its Steve Martin, in every way that it's a little ridiculous she hasn't been asked already.
At this point, there is, essentially, a Tina Fey character, one that's entirely of our time. Work-obsessed, socially awkward, weaned on pop culture and uncomfortable in the real world outside that, she's a comic outsider who we all relate to. She's political without being smug and off-putting about it, she's funny in an accessible-but-not-overly-broad way, and she's likable but not pandering. She is the comedienne of the zeitgeist the way Woody and Martin once were, a comedic auteur with enough spice to make the sugar go down.
Fey's also a bigger movie star than you think. "Date Night" nearly hit $100 million, "Megamind" is on its way to massive grosses and even "Baby Mama," her slight comedy with Amy Poehler, made $60.5 million. (She even makes public appearances with Andrew Cuomo, the new governor of New York, see above.) She doesn't have any movies to promote in the next year, but she still has her critically adored show, which, still, could use the rating boost. And she'll write most of her own jokes, the key arrow in her quiver. (She can even make Jimmy Fallon funny.) She's the logical choice for the next generation of Oscar hosts and might even make a franchise out of it. Plus, the dance number will be terrific.