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.
Related: Look Back: Ellen DeGeneres’ 2007 Oscar Monologue
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: Read More »