Casting about for a host for next year's Oscars

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Ratings were up, but thumbs are down. Seth MacFarlane, host of the unnecessarily long and offensive 85th Academy Awards show, has already tweeted that he won't be back. And after some of his more questionable efforts to elicit laughs -- jokes at the expense of women, Jews and Abraham Lincoln ("the actor who really got inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth"), a lot of women, Jews and admirers of the 16th president won't be sorry to see the "Family Guy" creator and Donny Osmond doppelganger go.

So, who will the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the show's producers round up next time?

Here's a handful of possible candidates to host the 86th Oscars, a mere 51 weeks from now:

Quvenzhane Wallis: Everybody loves the 9-year-old best-actress nominee from "Beasts of the Southern Wild," and there's no way she's going to sing a number about actresses' boobs or pay attention to that Captain Kirk guy (" 'Star Trek'? What's 'Star Trek'?"). She may, however, break into the cheery lyrics "The sun will come out tomorrow" -- she has been signed to star in the title role of a new "Annie" movie.

Bradley Cooper: Hey, he was People's sexiest man alive, and he brought his mom to the Dolby Theatre on Oscar night. And maybe, just maybe, if "Honest Abe" Daniel Day-Lewis hadn't been in the competition, Mr. Cooper could have won that best-actor trophy for his seriously funny, emotionally raw performance in "Silver Linings Playbook."

Jennifer Lawrence: Wardrobe malfunction at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, falling flat on her face as she climbed the steps to receive her best-actress Oscar, Mr. Cooper's "Silver Linings" leading lady is quick on her feet -- when she's on her feet, that is -- and will draw in 100 billion "Hunger Games"-obsessed tweens, too. Instead of handing out the best-director prize, the actress who plays Katniss Everdeen could officiate over a nominees' battle to the death, right there on stage.

Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz: The roving hagglers of the History Channel's "American Pickers" show, Mike and Frank could "bundle" nominees to keep the acceptance speeches from running long, and buy Oscar statuettes from some of the more cash-starved winners (sound editors, documentary shorts producers), then resell them at their Iowa store for triple the price.

Pope Benedict XVI: It's going to get really boring in that Vatican retirement village, and the "emeritus pope" is rumored to be a huge Ben Affleck fan. Nanni Moretti's "We Have a Pope" -- the gently farcical 2011 film about the Roman Catholic Church's conclave to elect a new successor -- could get a special Oscar-night tribute.

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