Hosted: four times (1993, 1995, 1998, 2001)
Goldberg was the groundbreaking host, times two: the first female host (solo anyway, as Goldie Hawn, Rosalind Russell, Carol Burnett and a few others had shared duties prior to 1993) and the first black person to host (again, solo, as Sammy Davis Jr. and Richard Pryor both did some co-hosting). Those are enormous hurdles to get over, and the world owes Goldberg a debt for suffering the requisite anxiety that must have come with this particular hosting gig. But the truth is that she was disappointing as a host, even to those of us who really like her and find her smart and funny. The bravado required to take on the mantle of history-making didn’t translate well, and the overall impression Goldberg left was of a disgruntled sourpuss who changed outfits a lot (remember her Queen Elizabeth outfit?) but wasn’t having much fun. What an irony. The first female co-host, who happens to be a feminist, and yet it ended up being all about the clothes. Will we see Whoopi hosting again? Probably not; the first show Jon Stewart hosted opened with a montage of past hosts refusing the duty. Goldberg is shown opening a door, delivering a tart, “Hell, no,” and then slamming it. But, after a couple of years dealing with Elisabeth Hasselbeck on a daily basis, hosting the Oscars might start to seem like a pleasant vacation to her. And the fifth time could be the charm.
Overall impression: Meh.