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While this will be the versatile performer’s first stint as the Academy Awards show emcee, he’s an established fixture when it comes to hosting awards shows. He’s hosted the Emmy Awards twice and the Tony Awards four times, winning four Emmys for his Tony shows. He also has performed on the Oscar show. Harris will also have a rooting interest in one of this year’s awards hopefuls, since he’s currently appearing in David Fincher‘s Gone Girl.
Harris’ selection comes after what sources say was a relatively brief search. Last year’s host, Ellen DeGeneres, passed on returning, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus was offered the gig and turned it down.
In announcing their choice of Harris, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will be producing the show for the third year in a row, said in a statement, “We are thrilled to have Neil host the Oscars. We have known him his entire adult life, and we have watched him explode as a great performer in feature films, television and stage. To work with him on the Oscars is the perfect storm, all of his resources and talent coming together on a global stage.”
See more Oscar Hosts Through the Years
“It is truly an honor and a thrill to be asked to host this year’s Academy Awards,” said Harris, who released a video via Twitter where he can be seen scratching being Oscar host off his bucket list. “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.”
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs commented, “We share Craig and Neil’s excitement in welcoming the incredibly talented Neil Patrick Harris. He is the consummate entertainer. Neil’s distinctive charm and showmanship make him the ideal host to honor the Oscar legacy and ensure we all enjoy another unforgettable celebration.”
With Zadan and Meron at the helm, the Oscar show ratings have been on the upswing for the past two years, with last year’s show reaching more than 45 million viewers. The Academy also pointed to the fact that last year’s show registered in a big way on social media, with more than 1 billion impressions on Twitter and 25 million interactions on Facebook on Oscar Sunday. DeGeneres’ star-studded selfie became the most retweeted photo of all time with 32.8 million views.
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