Neil Patrick Harris for the 2011 Oscars

Lainey Posted by Lainey at November 9, 2010 07:59:53 November 9, 2010 07:59:53

Written by Sarah

Hugh Jackman was asked to host the Academy Awards again. This is now the third time he’s been asked. He said yes the first time and hosted the 2009 Oscars, but he turned it down this year because he didn’t want to go back-to-back. He nay-said 2011 citing preparations for Darren Aronofsky’s sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is scheduled to begin filming in late February or early March anyway.

I get why the Academy producers are so big on Jackman. He’s very likeable, appeals to both men and women, he’s charismatic and energetic and a good song and dance man. His Oscars were well received by both the attending audience and viewers at home. But you know who else is a likeable song and dance man with charisma and energy? Neil Patrick Harris.

NPH was featured in the Oscars’ opening number this year and it was the highlight of the show. Show producers said they didn’t want him to host because he was just coming off his (very popular) Emmy hosting gig. That excuse doesn’t hold anymore. NPH is perfect for the 2011 Oscars. Everything that worked about Jackman would work with NPH. He could be the fun opening musical number (point of fact, he already has done it), he can deliver pithy comments about the nominees in his “Barney”-style deadpan, and he’s a likeable dude—everyone likes NPH.

As to the argument that the Academy should hire a minority or woman, I agree. They should look outside the usual middle-aged white guys (though one could argue Jackman isn’t middle-aged). And I think the best candidates in that category are Tina Fey, Queen Latifah, George Lopez, or (as much as I detest him) Aziz Ansari. It might be a little weird, but Community’s Dani Pudi could be a really funny host. He’d basically do his Community character of Abed, but imagine all the movie/pop culture references he could work in?

It’s just that, right now, in this moment, considering the host for 2011, I think NPH is the man for the job. The thing he can do that Jackman couldn’t is bring some sly self-awareness to the show. The Academy doesn’t like to sit in their Sunday finest and be made fun of for four hours (which is why comedians like Chris Rock and Jon Stewart often have a hard time hosting), but viewers at home sure like to see celebrities take some hits. NPH has the ability to be subversive and deliver some of those zingers, but he isn’t going to be as harsh as a Rock or Stewart, which will keep the Academy audience happy. He’s just the right balance of sweet and tart.

NPH for Oscars 2011. Make this happen.

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