Even though Neil Patrick Harris has had wildly successful hosting gigs on other awards shows — the Tonys in particular — he wasn’t the Motion Picture Academy’s first choice to host the upcoming Oscars ceremony, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
As we reported previously, Harris was named last week as the host of the Academy Awards, set to air Feb. 22 on ABC. His tour-de-force appearances in recent years on the Tonys have become the stuff of legend — you can see a prime example by clicking here.
But THR reports that the academy’s first choice was a return appearance by last year’s host, Ellen DeGeneres, who declined the offer.
“Next on the wish list was Chris Rock, with whom DeGeneres shares ICM Partners agent Eddy Yablans, but a deal failed to materialize. Producers then expressed interest in Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who also said no,” the story reports.
Harris has hosted the Tony Awards four times and the Emmys twice — in 2009 and 2013.
“But the Oscars job is another level altogether, a three-hour plate-spinning act that has felled bigger stars (like James Franco and Anne Hathaway) and comedy giants (like David Letterman and, more recently, Seth MacFarlane),” the THR report notes, adding: “For many, the degree of difficulty is too great to justify even trying.”