An Oscar host that isn't insulting or political? Ellen DeGeneres claims that's her goal.
"I want to be respectful," the talk-show host told The New York Times about her gig hosting the 79th annual Academy Awards on Feb. 25, 2007.
Respect is fine, Ellen. So is being funny! Talk to Stephen Colbert, if need be.
"I know what the job is," DeGeneres said. "It's to honor movies and to honor people who worked hard. Those people take it seriously. I'm there to make them feel good and take their minds off it a little bit and make it a fun night."
Ellen does have a solid background. She deftly emceed the Emmys after both the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina and is perceived as the perfect Oscar host in the wake of Hollywood's tepid box-office showing last year as well as this time of turmoil in Washington and overseas.
But if we aren't promised a Tom Cruise joke or 17, we're not watching.
"She's got the best laugh in show business," Robin Williams, an Oscar winner, told the Times. "I think she's genuinely having a good time. If it felt fake, or put on, I think people would pick up on it."
"I have a certain philosophy," DeGeneres said, referring to both her daily show and how she'll approach Oscar night, "that if it feels good, that if I feel good doing it, then it will just feel good to watch."
She also avoids the political and seldom mentions partner Portia de Rossi, recalling the negative fallout after she appeared on the cover of Time with the headline, "Yep, I'm Gay."
"Maybe because I was penalized in a way when I came out, there are certain areas that I am aware would get me in trouble," she said. "I talk about my life and I talk about Portia and it's not a big deal if it comes up. But it really doesn't come up."