Former Tony and Emmy host Neil Patrick Harris is extending his emcee portfolio to the Oscars: he's tapped to host the 87th annual Academy Awards on Feb. 22. Harris confirmed the news via Twitter like only he could…
– Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) October 15, 2014
The news was first reported by Variety.
It's a perfectly safe choice for show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will be at it for a third straight year this time around. After negative fallout (but a boost in ratings) from the Seth MacFarlane-hosted 85th annual show two years ago, they went with former host Ellen DeGeneres last year, and in Harris (who also stars in David Fincher's “Gone Girl,” currently in release), they will get a consummate showman who won't ruffle too many feathers, but certainly won't be boring.
He's no stranger to awards in general, given the hosting gigs over the years, but he also recently won a Tony for his performance in the revival of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” as well as an Emmy for, well, hosting the Tonys.
Last season's show netted the biggest Oscar viewership in 14 years, according to the Academy, with an average audience of 45.4 million total viewers. What will Harris mean to that bottom line? He's certainly not as broad in appeal as DeGeneres is (he just doesn't have a daily afternoon talk show is all). But he's not far off, either; “How I Met Your Mother” is probably more widely known internationally than DeGeneres and her show.
Nevertheless, Harris told us in November of 2011 that he was “actively anti-campaigning” for the gig, which many people were hoping he would take after his work on the Tonys and Emmys. “I don't think it's the big job that everyone thinks it is,” he said at the time. “It's one night when people win awards. It's a year's worth of people over-thinking that night, whether it's Oscar campaigns or specific performances for… And then you have publicists and studios and everyone has such a vested interest in that one night that I think it's just a pressure cooker. It's a big deal. So to come out as the host, unless you're doing Billy Crystal, is difficult.”
I guess things changed for Mr. Harris. “It is truly an honor and a thrill to be asked to host this year”s Academy Awards,” he said in a statement. “I grew up watching the Oscars and was always in such awe of some of the greats who hosted the show. To be asked to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, and everyone else who had the great fortune of hosting is a bucket list dream come true.”
You can still watch him talk about NOT wanting to do it in the clip embedded at the top of this post. ;)
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