Variety reports that talk-show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres is to host the Academy Awards next year.
DeGeneres has hosted once before, in 2007; she was somewhere between James Franco and Steve Martin as a host, met with generally respectful if not over-the-moon reviews. Though the seven-year gap between hosting gigs is longer than usual, DeGeneres' status as one of two solo female Oscar hosts ever was likely important for the academy, who have had two consecutive ceremonies disrupted by sexism or homophobia. Last year's show saw a firestorm of criticism for Seth MacFarlane's sexist routine at this year's ceremony. The year before, turbulence over anti-gay slurs used by the show's producer saw that producer as well as host Eddie Murphy drop out.
As her 2007 opening monologue shows, even beyond her demographic bona fides, DeGeneres is a very safe choice.