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Neil Patrick Harris to host the Oscars

Neil Patrick Harris will host a new variety

Neil Patrick Harris will host a new variety show for NBC. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Theo Wargo

He sings, he dances, he says (or said) "wait for it" -- although perhaps most of all, he hosts and hosts well. But what Neil Patrick Harris has yet to host is the Oscars. That will finally change in 2015 when he finally steps before a couple of thousand bespoke and exceedingly overwrought industry figures at the Dolby Theater as MC of the Academy Awards...

In a statement, Harris said: “It is truly an honor and a thrill to be asked to host this year’s Academy Awards. I grew up watching the Oscars and was always in such awe of some of the greats who hosted the show. To be asked to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, and everyone else who had the great fortune of hosting is a bucket list dream come true.”  

 Yes, it's a first for Harris, who would seem to have almost been born to handle this show. That hasn't happened and (instead), he's been a multiple Emmy host and a Tony favorite as well. (He won a best actor/musical Tony for "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" last summer.)

He will handle an event -- "show" seems far too modest for the Oscars -- which seems to have negated, if only slightly, the role of moderator in recent years. Ellen DeGeneres handled this earlier this year, and she was tapped to mollify an Academy scandalized (nice old fashioned word for "infuriated") by Seth MacFarlane's controversial outing the year before.

Harris -- per tradition -- is a TV star as opposed to a movie one (even though he was in "Gone Girl"), and brings an arsenal of skills, notably stage and musical ones, that meet the basic criteria: Don't bore the crowd warming the seats and get on with the show as quickly as possible, while paying (at least) lip service to the idea that Oscar night is designed expressly to celebrate movies, not belittle them. 

The ceremony will air Feb. 22 next year.

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