5 Burning Questions on Neil Patrick Harris as Oscar Host

HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 07: Actor Neil Patrick Harris performs onstage during the 82nd Annual Academy Awards held at Kodak Theatre on March 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Neil Patrick Harris Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In 2010, when Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin hosted the Academy Awards, Neil Patrick Harris opened the show with a song-and-dance number and cracked, “I know: What am I doing here?” The audience laughed then, but in the years since, as Harris became the go-to emcee for the Tonys and Emmys, the notion that he’d someday host the Oscars felt inevitable. Still, even though today’s announcement that Harris had scored the big gig came as no out-of-left-field shocker, it did prompt us to ask a few questions. Won’t you indulge us in our curiosity?

Could Tina Fey or Amy Poehler now host the Oscars someday?
The only thing that had previously held back Harris as an Oscar host — well, besides that time-consuming sitcom he starred in — was the perception that by selecting him, the Academy would be making a “sloppy seconds” pick after Harris had already hosted every other awards show under the sun. Now that Harris has gotten the job, does this mean that dream hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler could become a viable pick for future broadcasts? They may be inhibited by their strong ties to the Golden Globes (which is regarded as an outright competitor to the Oscars and, tellingly, was one of the few ceremonies Harris never hosted), but the prospect of either comedienne toplining the Oscars just got a whole lot more feasible.

Is this good for Gone Girl?
David Fincher’s marital thriller has slowly and steadily built Oscar steam this month, and now that one of the film’s actors will actually be hosting the show, it further stokes Gone Girl’s awards season conversation. At the very least, a tossed-off monologue joke about Ben Affleck’s heavily scrutinized member (or even the nude scene Harris had himself) seems like a certainty.

Does the Academy now value stability above all else?
In previous years, the Academy would swing between surprising and safe host choices so wildly it could make Oscar’s golden head spin. After the fiasco that was James Franco and Anne Hathaway, the Academy alighted on Billy Crystal; when Seth MacFarlane sparked cries of misogyny, the Academy followed him up with the inoffensive Ellen DeGeneres. Though you might have put money on a more unusual choice this year to balance out DeGeneres, her show did quite well in the ratings last year, and when the Academy brought back producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan to helm the ceremony yet again (this will be their third Oscars in a row), it became clear that calming the creative whiplash of previous years is among the Academy’s top priorities.

Did Seth MacFarlane recommend Harris for the gig?
Even though MacFarlane’s Oscar show was critically drubbed, the writer-director still has a solid relationship with Meron and Zadan, and even flirted with a comeback gig last year before the producers approached DeGeneres. (Even she accepted the job reluctantly, according to Variety). Harris has made no secret about the fact that he’d love to host the Oscars someday — he announced the news on Twitter by crossing it off a mock bucket list — and it’s possible that after working together on A Million Ways to Die In the West, MacFarlane gave Harris his crucial endorsement.

Who will he sing with?
Harris already warbled with Hugh Jackman once before at the Tonys, so why shouldn’t Jackman induct him into the Oscar-hosting hall of fame with another duet? Come to think of it, Zadan and Meron really ought to corral a bunch of previous Oscar hosts for some musical cameos: Imagine Harris singing with not just Jackman but MacFarlane, Crystal, Martin, and Hathaway, too! (But no James Franco, please. He’ll ask. Just say no.)