ELLEN DEGENERES TO HOST 79TH ACADEMY AWARDS� PRESENTATION
Ellen DeGeneres has been set to host the 79th Academy Awards telecast, producer Laura Ziskin announced today. It will be DeGeneres� first time as Oscar� host, as well as her first appearance on an Academy Awards telecast. �The 79th Annual Academy Awards� will air on SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2007 on the ABC Television Network.
�Ellen DeGeneres was born to host the Academy Awards,� said Ziskin. �There is no more challenging hosting job in show business. It requires someone who can keep the show alive and fresh and moving, as well as someone who is a flat-out great entertainer. Ellen completely fits the bill. I can already tell she is going to set the bar very high for herself, and therefore for all of us involved in putting on the show. Now all we need is a lot of great movies.�
DeGeneres is the host of the syndicated talk show �The Ellen DeGeneres Show,� which this year won its third Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show and earned DeGeneres her second Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Launched in September 2003, the show won four Daytime Emmys in its freshman year, including Outstanding Talk Show, after garnering a record twelve nominations. In its second season, the show won five Daytime Emmys, and this year earned a total of six Emmy Awards.
�When Laura Ziskin called, I was thrilled,� said DeGeneres. �There�s two things I�ve always wanted to do in my life. One is to host the Oscars. The second is to get a call from Laura Ziskin. You can imagine that day�s diary entry.�
DeGeneres has twice hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast, and co-hosted the show in 1994. For her first solo Emmy stint, which took place shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, she received high praise.
�She just sparkles,� said Academy President Sid Ganis. �She is such a pleasure to watch. Her wit cuts to the truth of things, but in a wonderfully warm-spirited way. I think she'll be a fantastic host for this show and we're extremely pleased that she's agreed to do it.�
Prior to the launch of her talk show, DeGeneres scored with simultaneous achievements on stage, film and in the literary world. She enjoyed popular and critical response to her voice performance of �Dory,� the fish with extreme short-term memory, in the Disney/Pixar animated feature film, �Finding Nemo.� DeGeneres earlier crossed the country on a 35-city stand-up comedy tour, entitled �Here and Now,� which was taped for HBO and subsequently nominated for two Emmys. And in October 2003, her second book, �The Funny Thing Is...,� was published. Comprised of comedic short stories and essays, the book hit the New York Times� bestseller list upon its release. In 2005 she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album for the audio version of the book.
DeGeneres began her acting career in television on Fox's sitcom, �Open House.� She moved on to ABC's �Laurie Hill,� prior to being offered �These Friends of Mine� by ABC. After the first season, the show was renamed �Ellen.� Running from 1994 to 1998, the show brought DeGeneres Emmy nominations each season in the Best Actress category.
In 1997 DeGeneres was the recipient of the Peabody Award, as well as earning an Emmy for writing the critically acclaimed �Puppy Episode� in which her character came out as a gay woman. She followed with the CBS sitcom �The Ellen Show,� which ran from 2001 to 2002.
DeGeneres' feature film credits also include �EDTV� for director Ron Howard, �The Love Letter,� �Goodbye Lover,� �Coneheads� and �Mr. Wrong,� in which she starred with Bill Pullman.
In 1995 her first book, �My Point...And I Do Have One,� debuted at number one on the New York Times� bestseller list, and in 1997 she released her comedy CD, �Taste This.�
The ceremonies honoring film achievements for 2006 will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2007. �The 79th Annual Academy Awards� presentation will be broadcast live from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland by the ABC Television Network, beginning at 5:00 p.m. (PST) with a half-hour arrivals segment.