Neil Patrick Harris says he won’t host the Oscars 'beast' again

The Gone Girl actor responds to criticism

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The Independent Culture

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."

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.