By Rachaell Davis ·Updated January 12, 2022
In the midst of event and award show cancellations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has drummed up quite a bit of chatter over its announcement that it will have a host for this year’s ceremony, three years after last having one.
The news prompted a slew of speculation around who the host might be, along with no shortage of suggestions such as Issa Rae. Some entertainers, like Robin Thede, even threw their own hat in the ring.
do you guys want me to host the Oscarsif yes then reply with an Elmo meme if no then post a Rocco meme
— Robin Thede (@robinthede) January 12, 2022
While there’s certainly much work to be done in diversifying the hosting space for major award shows (only five Black entertainers have hosted in the Academy’s near 100-year history), a Black woman garnering the coveted opportunity isn’t too far off.
As we wait in anticipation of learning who will guide us through Hollywood’s biggest night on March 27, here’s a look back at the iconic Black entertainers who have landed the hosting gig over the years.
This article was originally published December 18, 2018.
01Sammy Davis, Jr. – 1972, 1975In 1972, singer, actor and comedian Sammy Davis, Jr. became the first African-American entertainer to host or co-host the show in the history of the Academy Awards. He hosted alongside Jack Lemmon, Helen Hayes and Alan King. He later returned to host the show again in 1975 alongside Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Shirley MacLaine. Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images 02Richard Pryor – 1977, 1983In 1977, Richard Pryor hosted the Academy Awards for the first time alongside Jane Fonda, Warren Beatty and Ellen Burstyn. He later returned to host again in 1983 alongside Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore and Walter Matthau. Getty Images 03Whoopi Goldberg – 1994, 1996, 1999, 2002In 1994, actress, comedian and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg made history as the first Black woman to ever host the Academy Awards and the first woman to host solo. She later returned to host the show again in 1996, 1999 and 2002. Steve Granitz/Getty Images 04Chris Rock – 2005, 2016Comedian and actor Chris Rock first hosted the Academy Awards in 2005. He later returned to host the show again in 2016.
05Kevin Hart – 2019Comedic actor Kevin Hart was slated to make his Academy Awards hosting debut in 2019 but after a series of his old homophobic tweets resurfaced, he stepped down from the opportunity. Dennis Leupold
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