Actor Neil Patrick Harris, popular with younger TV viewers as the star of the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” has been tapped to host next year’s Academy Awards ceremony, the organizers of Hollywood’s biggest night said on Wednesday. The 41-year-old actor is best known as Barney Stinson on the long-running CBS series, has also hosted TV’s Emmy Awards. He has won 3 Emmys for hosting theatre’s Tony Awards.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is eager to draw a greater number of younger viewers to the TV broadcast of the 87th Oscars. The ceremony will be shown live to more than 200 countries from Los Angeles on 22nd February 2015 on the ABC television network, owned by Walt Disney Co.
Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres emceed the ceremony this year, and drew the highest Oscars telecast audience in 14 years with 43.7 million tuning in. Ellen DeGeneres was also successful drawing a strong rating among the 18-49 demographic coveted most by advertisers.
Ellen, who is openly gay like Neil, poked fun at the powerful people in the room, her own sexuality, handed out pizza and took a star-studded selfie that set Twitter’s record for most retweets and briefly crashed the microblogging service. Because who can forget the most epic selfie ever?:
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
Neil Patrick Harris, who won a best actor Tony Award this year in Broadway musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” most recently co-starred in dark thriller and early Oscar contender “Gone Girl”. He helped break the announcement on Twitter with a video post showing him cheekily running down a “bucket list” of accomplishments before circling “Host the Oscars”.
Upon the announcement, 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.
Show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will run the live ceremony for the third consecutive time in 2015. The Broadway producers are known for delivering lively musical and dance numbers, which Neil has also done in his other hosting gigs. “To work with him on the Oscars is the perfect storm, all of his resources and talent coming together on a global stage,” Zadan and Meron said in a statement.
Watch the announcement video here:
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) October 15, 2014
In recent years, the Oscars organisers have sought to draw a younger audience to the prestigious black tie gala show, to mixed results.
In 2011, young, attractive actors Anne Hathaway and James Franco were panned for their co-hosting efforts and lack of chemistry, drawing one of the least-watched Oscars in a decade, while “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane in 2013 delivered a bigger audience but was criticised for his raunchy humour. The Oscars have also faced pressure from January’s Golden Globe Awards, which has seen a viewership surge after it turned hosting duties over to popular comics Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
That having said, we can’t wait to watch Neil Patrick Harris do his thang come 22nd February 2015!
It’s going to be legen, wait for it..