If you look around the Hollywood landscape, you’ll notice that we’re diving into awards season 2014. David Fincher’s Gone Girl (unofficially) kicked it all off by earning rave reviews, and upcoming fall releases like Birdman, Interstellar, Foxcatcher, Whiplash, and The Imitation Game (among several others) are all vying for Oscar gold. And you thought the summer movie season was crowded.
Of course, this mad dash of campaigning and prognosticating will culminate on February 22, 2015, when the 87th Academy Awards ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. While film buffs will no doubt be looking forward to the Best Picture montages and emotional acceptance speeches, there are always plenty of eyes on who will land the coveted job of hosting the night’s festivities.
Last year, it was Ellen DeGeneres’ party, and the comedian gave viewers a pretty memorable evening (including one record-shattering selfie), and now we’ve learned who will follow her footsteps. It is none other than How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris, who has built up an illustrious career as an awards host in recent years.
The Academy announced the news in a press release, with show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron having nothing but positive things to say about their new frontman.
Read their quote:
“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.”
As anyone who has followed Harris’ career knows, the man does possess several talents that make him an ideal choice to host an awards show. Film and TV viewers are well aware of his comedic timing, but Harris is also very musically gifted, having hosted the Tonys four times. So not only will he be able to whip witty quips around the celebrity-filled audience, he should knock out an opening musical number with ease.
Plus, Harris has experience hosting non-musical awards shows as well, with two stints as the Emmys host (most recently in 2013). Simply put, Harris is a terrific showman who isn’t afraid of the big lights. We envision that his “perfect storm” of resources should provide us with an entertaining program if nothing else. After all, he’s an awards-winning host – taking home four Emmys for his work on the Tonys (yes, that’s right) – so it seems as if he knows what he’s doing up there.
As the Academy notes in their press release, the last two years’ ceremonies have seen a boost in the ratings, with this year’s show drawing in 45 million viewers (the largest audience since 2000). Some of that could be attributed to the Academy nominating films that are commercially viable, but there’s no denying that their selection of hosts helps. Seth MacFarlane, Degeneres, and Harris are all popular figures in their field, giving viewers plenty of reasons to tune in besides celebrating the year in film.
This is all to say that the selection of Harris should be very beneficial for all parties involved. The Academy, in all likelihood, will see another uptick in the ratings (especially that coveted younger demographic) by utilizing the fan-favorite actor and Harris’ easy-going, charming Barney Stinson schtick should work extremely well in this outlet. Will the final product be legen…dary? We’ll have to tune in to find that out, but right now, the 2015 Oscars are off to a rollicking start. Fingers crossed Harris can deliver on the awards stage yet again.
The 87th Academy Awards will air on ABC on Sunday, February 22, 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.