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Ellen DeGeneres will host the 79th annual Academy Awards ceremony this Sunday.
For years, it was the peerless Bob Hope. For more years, the personable Johnny Carson. Sinatra tried it. So did the loveable Jack Lemmon. A singing-and-dancing Billy Crystal enjoyed a pleasant little run. And before and after Billy, we had a Whoopi here and a Dave there and a Steve and a Jon and — back in the late '80s — even a Chevy.
Now the role of emcee for Sunday's Oscars ceremony goes to ... Ellen DeGeneres. And a woman who has made a comic career of putting her foibles on display faces the anxieties connected to the world's highest-profile hosting job.
Fortunately, DeGeneres tells Renee Montagne, she has a secret method of preparation: Lots of sit-ups.
But seriously, folks.
"I don't know why everybody is so hard on these hosts," DeGeneres says. "I thought that we've had some great hosts."
Still, as she walks onto the stage, DeGeneres will certainly be aware that the millions who tune in around the world don't always agree.
"It's a pretty tough job, and you kind of go in there knowing that you can't please everybody," she says.
She knows that much of the audience will be doing what she normally does: "tearing everybody apart."
And across the world, she says, "People will be judging me, going, 'She wore that?!'"
On Sunday, DeGeneres will not be wearing a designer gown, but rather, a designer tuxedo.
And inside the auditorium?
"It's a bunch of big, big stars. Staring at me," she says.
Despite the risks involved in taking on the highly scrutinized job, DeGeneres says she wants to enjoy the spotlight.
"I want to have fun," she says. "I want to walk out there, and smile, and enjoy it."