Neil Patrick Harris’s debut as Oscars compere wasn’t exactly “legend….ary” to quote his How I Met Your Mother character Barney. Now, the comic actor has revealed he is unlikely to host the Academy Awards ceremony again because neither “my family, nor my soul” could take it.
After mixed reviews for his performance – which included singing an opening number with Into the Woods' Anna Kendrick and appearance in his white underpants – Harris described the hosting gig as “a beast” said he was doubtful about making a return appearance.
“I don’t know that my family nor my soul could take it," he in an interview with The Huffington Post.
"It’s a beast. It was fun to check off the list, but for the amount of time spent and the understandable opinionated response, I don’t know that it's a delightful balance to do every year or even again."
Harris courted controversy at this year’s awards by making a joke about this year’s nominations “white wash” which saw only Caucasian actors and actresses shortlisted for awards, saying: "Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest."
Oscars hosts through the ages
Oscars hosts through the ages
1/11 Neil Patrick Harris
Harris made jokes about the lack of diversity at the 2015 Oscars including welcoming 'Hollywood's best and whitest...I mean brightest'.
2/11 Ellen DeGeneres
The talk show host has fronted the Academy Awards twice, first in 2007 and then in 2014. She is generally viewed as a 'safe pair of hands' for the show and was brought back following Seth Macfarlane's controversial turn. She was also responsible last year for the first Oscars 'selfie'.
3/11 Seth MacFarlane
The Family Guy creator was one of the most controversial hosts in the history of the Academy. His song about 'boobs' hit a bum note in some areas of the establishment and he managed to offend just about everybody.
4/11 James Franco and Anne Hathaway
Co-presenters James Franco and Anne Hathaway decided to swap clothes in just one of many skits during the 83rd annual Academy Awards. Sadly for them the pairing was not a critical success with Franco accused of looking a bit vacant while Hathaway struggled manically to keep things ticking over.
5/11 Billy Crystal
After Bob Hope, the record for hosting the most Oscars ceremonies is held by Crystal. His rein over the Academy spans the 90s but he most recently pitched up to host in 2012. The New Yorker also famously provided the voice for Mike Wazowski in Monsters Inc.
6/11 Steve Martin and Alex Baldwin
These two might have had chemistry as rivals for Meryl Streep's affections in It's Complicated, but as Oscars hosts things were a little bit awkward. The pair's turn in 2010 produced some friendly joshing with the actors in the audience, but their thunder was well and truly stolen by this year's host Neil Patrick Harris opening the show in fine tradition with an elaborate musical number.
7/11 Steve Martin
The beloved American comic and bluegrass musician hosted the Oscars solo in 2001 and 2003. The fact that he was invited back again to co-host with Baldwin means things went pretty well.
AFP PHOTO/TIMOTHY A. CLARY
8/11 Jon Stewart
Perhaps surprisingly the deadpan American TV personality was dismissed by some critics as a 'pretty conventional' Oscars host. However, Variety was more complimentary, saying he 'earned his keep by maintaining a playful, irreverent tone throughout the night.'
9/11 Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show host and comic actor hosted the Academy Awards five times in the 1960s and '70s. He is cited as a major influence by David Letterman and set the blueprint for American talk show host styles for decades.
10/11 Jack Lemmon
Having famously starred as Marilyn Monroe's cross-dressing beau in Some Like It Hot, Lemmon was both a four time Oscars host and recipient of the Best Actor gong for 1972 film Save the Tiger. He also took the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1956 for Mister Roberts, becoming one of the few actors to win both (others include Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Spacey, and Denzel Washington).
11/11 Whoopi Goldberg
The actress and TV personality was only the second woman in the history of the Academy to win an Oscar. The Ghost and Sister Act star was later invited to host the show and was such a hit she was invited back three more times.
With regard to feedback on his performance, Harris said: "It was interesting to see just what people thought landed and didn’t. It’s so difficult for one who’s simply watching the show to realize just how much time and concession and compromise and explanation has gone into almost every single thing."
The ceremony recorded its lowest TV ratings in six years with 36.6 million people tuning in to watch Birdman, Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore take home the big prizes – a figure down 16 per cent on last year, Nielsen reports.
The comic actor is no stranger to glitzy prize-givings having hosted the Tony Awards four times and the Emmy Awards twice, but the reviewers were pulling no punches in their assessment of his Oscars turn.
“Whether it was the barbed lines or three-plus hours of material that just grew flatter by the minute, Harris was a different figure from the fearless, amiable and funny emcee of multiple Tony Awards and other shows,” concluded Deadline; while Variety described him as “cheeky but earnest”; The Age described it as “a solid performance but not his best”; while Time got the knives out and called him “befuddlingly, stymied by the exigencies of hosting”.
The last decade has seen 12 different Oscars hosts with Ellen DeGeneres (who engineered last year’s iconic Oscars selfie), Jon Stewart and Hugh Jackman among the very best – even though they received mixed reviews at the time.Reuse content