This article was originally published on my blog Gemma Reviews on December 5th, 2016. Make sure to check it out for film and television reviews and everything in between. 

When I heard the announcement that Jimmy Kimmel is set to host the 2017 Academy Awards, I felt I needed to compile a list of seven performers who would bring diversity and humor to the ceremony as well as continue Chris Rock’s discourse from last year into the socio-political state of Hollywood cinema.

For an institution that has been under heavy criticism in recent years for its lack of diversity both in terms of nominations and members, hiring ABC’s late night darling, a white male comedian, doesn’t seem like the best idea. Although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists has already announced who will host their annual ceremony, maybe this list can inspire other institutions to pick equally talented but more diverse hosts for theirs.

MELISSA MCCARTHY: THE UNDISPUTED QUEEN OF COMEDY

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MCCARTHY IN HER ACADEMY, BAFTA  AND SAG AWARD NOMINATED BRIDESMAIDS ROLE

If there is one female comedian's name who has been on everyone’s lips since 2011, it’s Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy has proven her comedic chops both on the big and small screen, earning an Academy Award nomination for her role in Bridesmaids as well as four nominations for her guest appearances on Saturday Night Live. Besides starring in many blockbuster films, McCarthy has also written, produced and starred in several proving her role as a BAMF and her knowledge of the industry she has become so synonymous with. She’s far from Hollywood’s typical golden girl, getting her big break at 41 and speaking out on the lack of plus-size women in starring roles in film and television. Since her big break, McCarthy has said she wants to represent real women in film and denies critical allegations that she only plays over the top characters: ‘I think when a female character acts more defiant, it’s seen as a little more crazy […] We generally just see The Pleasant Lady who stands behind her husband going ‘Oh, Jack.’ But I really love a female character who is not playing by the rules.’

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS: TV’S FOREVER GIRL

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LOUIS-DREYFUS AS SELINA MEYER IN HBO’S VEEP

With nine Emmy Awards and a thirty-year career, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is probably Hollywood’s most successful television star. The actress and comedian had her start on Saturday Night Light before leaping to fame as Elaine in Seinfeld. She’s best known to younger audiences as fictional president Selina Meyers on HBO’s award winning comedy Veep. Louis-Dreyfus is a comedic force to be reckoned with and has never shied away from using her celebrity to promote political and social issues she is passionate about. In relation to women’s roles in Hollywood, Louis-Dreyfus has been very vocal about the ageism that seems inherent to the industry, even collaborating with fellow funny lady Tina Fey and Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette on Inside Amy Schumer on how female actresses are given an ‘expiration date’ for success.

KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY AND JORDAN PEELE: THE SATIRICAL POWERHOUSES

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KEY AS LUTHER, OBAMA’S ANGER TRANSLATOR, AT THE 2015 WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT’S DINNER

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have found immense success through their Comedy Central show Key and Peele. On their show, the comedy duo have done everything from satirizing the president to spoofing Hitler’s nazi regime in a variety of sketches and stand-up performances. Their comedy focuses on race relations and pop culture, mixing a refreshing blend of political and social satire. To non-sketch comedy followers, Key may be most recognizable from his various film roles in Pitch Perfect 2 and Tomorrowland as well as his outstanding performance as Luther, President Barack Obama’s anger translator, at the 2015 White House Correspondent’s dinner, whereas Peele is known for having a recurring role on the first season of FX’s anthology series Fargo. Key and Peele would surely bring a lot of laughter to the Academy Awards as well as a deep commentary on current events.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: THE BOUNDARY CRASHING TRIPLE THREAT

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MIRANDA ADDRESSING THE VICTIMS OF THE ORLANDO SHOOTING IN HIS TONY ACCEPTANCE SPEECH

If 2016 has a breakout star, it is Hamilton creator and Pulitzer Prize winning actor, playwright and composer (the list goes on) Lin-Manuel Miranda. The hit broadway musical Hamilton has been praised for breaking boundaries in the theatre world, primarily for its hip-hop compositions and use of an almost entirely non-White cast. Miranda has been a strong advocate of minority rights, ranging from his involvement in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to his views on immigrant rights and feminism, advocating Emma Watson’s #HeForShe campaign. The triple threat would be sure to bring incredible entertainment to any Award show stage as well as speak passionately about the role of diversity in Mainstream American media.

KUMAIL NANJIANI: US COMEDY’S PAKISTANI DARLING

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NANJIANI ON HBO’S SILICON VALLEY

American-Pakistani comedian Kumail Nanjiani is best known for his stand-up career as well as his main role in HBO’s Silicon Valley. The comedian has been very vocal about his positions on immigration reform and immigrant rights, moving to the United States at the age of 18 to attend university. Born and raised in Pakistan, Nanjiani uses his comedy to educate his audiences on the Pakistani and Muslim traditions and customs. With the heated relations between the US and Middle East, Nanjiani’s refreshing humor would bring a lot of deep yet extremely funny commentary to the Dolby Theatre.

MINDY KALING: THE QUEEN OF POP-CULTURE COMEDY

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KALING TALKING ABOUT HER UPBRINGING

For years, Mindy Kaling has been a name on many comedy lover’s lips. Getting her big break writing for the U.S. version of The Office, the actress later graduated to a recurring role on the hit show before creating and starring in the CW's and Hulu’s The Mindy Project. Considered by many to be a pioneer and role model for South Asian women in Hollywood, Kaling has always used her unique pop-culture filled comedy to satirize and criticize society. Kaling would make for an incredibly quirky yet socially conscious host, her talents as a comedy writer benefitting her tenfold.

ANNA KENDRICK: AMERICA’S SWEETHEART

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KENDRICK  ON STAGE WITH NEIL PATRICK HARRIS DURING THE 2015 OSCAR’S OPENING MONOLOGUE

At the time of her Academy Award nomination for Up In The Air in 2009, Anna Kendrick was a relatively unknown name. Starting her career on Broadway as a child, Kendrick has risen to a level of fame rivaled by few. Besides her roles in franchises such as The Twilight Saga and Pitch Perfect, as well as her performance in the screen musical Into the Woods, Kendrick has become well known for her honest and hilarious tweets. Her comedic chops landed her on the New York Times’ Best Seller list with her memoir Scrappy Little Nobody, demonstrating both her talent as a comedic actress and writer. Kendrick has always been very vocal about feminism and the gender disparity in Hollywood, even dissecting the ‘curse word’ feminism in an article for the Daily Beast. Her participation in Neil Patrick Harris’ Oscars opening number in 2015 proved how great she would be as the show’s host.