UPDATED: Ellen DeGeneres just tweeted she will be hosting the Oscars this year. It will be her second stint in the job, after hosting the 2007 ceremony and earning an Emmy nomination for it. “It’s official: I’m hosting the
#Oscars! I’d like to thank @TheAcademy, my wife Portia and, oh dear, there goes the orchestra“, the comedian and talk show host said on her Twitter feed just now.
The announcement of DeGeneres as host comes just a couple of days after the election of Cheryl Boone Isaacs, only the third woman to head the Academy in its 86-year history. There are also now 14 women elected to the Board Of Governors, a record number, and a woman – Dawn Hudson — serves as CEO, so it seems appropiate with the well-publicized efforts to bring diversity in all its forms that a woman should return to host the show. DeGeneres would seem the perfect — and safe — choice to host this year particularly after Seth MacFarlane’s controversial stint for the 85th Oscars, which drew strong ratings but also some criticism especially for his satirical musical number “We Saw Your Boobs” which some saw as offensive to women.
When she first hosted in 2007 it was noted that DeGeneres also became the first openly gay or lesbian host. During the telecast she actually talked about diversity. “What a wonderful night, such diversity in the room, in a year when there’s been so many negative things said about people’s race, religion, and sexual orientation. And I want to put it out there: If there weren’t blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars, or anyone named Oscar, when you think about that,” she joked.
Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said they are longtime friends with the star and have been looking for a way to work with her. They obviously found one and kept the news under wraps until the new President was chosen. When I interviewed Boone Isaacs on Wednesday and asked her if she had ideas about the host or when it would be announced, she said she would be meeting with Zadan and Meron later that day to discuss it and their ideas for the show but at that point had no idea what the producers had in store. Things obviously happened quickly after that and the Academy moved to get the announcement out even as DeGeneres is on vacation according to one source I spoke with inside the Academy. “I agreed with Craig and Neil immediately that Ellen is the ideal host for this year’s show,” said Boone Isaacs in the Academy’s official release issued a few minutes after Ellen first tweeted the news.
Of course DeGeneres, a double-digit Emmy winner, was also nominated for an Emmy for her Oscar-hosting stint in the now-defunct category of Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. She also famously hosted the Emmys in November 2001 after the show was canceled twice in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. She returned to host the Emmys in 2005, just three weeks after Hurricane Katrina. She also hosted the Grammys in 1996 and 1997.
Here’s the Academy’s official release:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Television icon Ellen DeGeneres will return to host the Oscars® for a second time, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Academy Awards® will be broadcast live on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, on the ABC Television Network.
“We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres host the Oscars,” said Zadan and Meron. “As a longtime friend, we had always hoped to find a project for us to do together and nothing could be more exciting than teaming up to do the Oscars. There are few stars today who have Ellen’s gift for comedy, with her great warmth and humanity. She is beloved everywhere and we expect that the audience at the Dolby Theatre, and in homes around the globe, will be as excited by this news as we are.”
“I am so excited to be hosting the Oscars for the second time. You know what they say – the third time’s the charm,” said DeGeneres.
“I agreed with Craig and Neil immediately that Ellen is the ideal host for this year’s show,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President. “We’re looking forward to an entertaining, engaging and fun show.”
“Ellen is talented, wonderfully spontaneous, and knows how to entertain a worldwide audience,” said Dawn Hudson, Academy CEO. “She’s a big fan of the Oscars; we’re huge fans of hers. It’s a perfect match.”
“It is an honor to welcome back Ellen DeGeneres as the host of the biggest entertainment celebration of the year,” said Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group. “She is the consummate entertainer, equally beloved by her peers in the industry, movie fans and television viewers. We very much look forward to having her back on ABC for Oscar Sunday.”
DeGeneres hosted the 79th Academy Awards in 2007, for which she received a Primetime Emmy® nomination for “Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.”
DeGeneres has made a home for herself in daytime with her hit syndicated talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which has earned a total of 45 Daytime Emmys during its 10 seasons.
DeGeneres’ began her career as an emcee at a local comedy club in her hometown of New Orleans. Her acting career in television included roles in several successful sitcoms before being offered a part on “These Friends of Mine” by ABC. After the first season, the show was renamed “Ellen.” Running from 1994 to 1998, the show garnered record ratings, with DeGeneres receiving Emmy nominations each season in the Best Actress category. In 1997, DeGeneres was the recipient of the coveted Peabody Award as well as earning an Emmy for writing the critically acclaimed “Puppy Episode” when her character came out as a gay woman to a record 46 million viewers.
DeGeneres has also been successful in her feature film work. DeGeneres scored unprecedented popular and critical response to her character, Dory, the fish with extreme short-term memory, in the blockbuster Pixar animated feature “Finding Nemo.” DeGeneres recently announced the highly anticipated sequel to “Finding Nemo,” Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory,” currently scheduled to be released in November 2015.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar® Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
I have it on good authority it is all true. DEVELOPING.
Awards Columnist Pete Hammond - tip him here.