Ellen DeGeneres promises she won’t be insulting, like Chris Rock, or even political, like Jon Stewart, when she hosts the Oscars.
“I want to be respectful,” the talk-show host tells The New York Times about her gig hosting the 79th annual Academy Awards on Feb. 25, 2007.
“I know what the job is,” she says. “It’s to honor movies and to honor people who worked hard. Those people take it seriously. I’m there to make them feel good and take their minds off it a little bit and make it a fun night.”
After she deftly emceed the Emmys after both the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, DeGeneres is perceived as the perfect Oscar host in the wake of Hollywood’s tepid box-office showing last year as well as this time of turmoil in Washington and overseas.
“She’s got the best laugh in show business,” Robin Williams, himself an Oscar winner, tells the Times. “I think she’s genuinely having a good time. If it felt fake, or put on, I think people would pick up on it.”
“I have a certain philosophy,” DeGeneres says, referring to both her daily show and how she’ll approach Oscar night, “that if it feels good, that if I feel good doing it, then it will just feel good to watch”
She avoids the political – “I really am aware that no matter how strongly I feel about something, there’s someone else who feels just as strongly about the exact opposite,” she says – and the personal. She seldom mentions partner Portia de Rossi, recalling the negative fallout after she appeared on the cover of Time with the headline, “Yep, I’m Gay.”
“Maybe because I was penalized in a way when I came out, there are certain areas that I am aware would get me in trouble,” she says. “I talk about my life and I talk about Portia and it’s not a big deal if it comes up. But it really doesn’t come up.”