We size up every Oscar host of the new century
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Years: 2003, 2001
Highlights: Years before hosting a middling ceremony with Alec Baldwin, the silver-haired, silver-tongued comic aced two solo stints. He was well-nigh impeccable, delivering a steady stream of hilarious, quotable one-liners with offhand ease, keeping the show moving at a smooth pace. Most impressively, he hit just the right tone at 2003 ceremony, solemn and scaled-back following the US's invasion of Iraq: “No red carpet tonight,” he quipped dryly. “That'll send them a message!”
Lowlights: I'm very much in the camp that believes Martin never put a foot wrong – though for viewers who preferred the wackier, more theatrical antics of Crystal or Goldberg, Martin may have been a tad too laid-back.
- Guy Lodge