Ellen Excited And Nervous About Oscars
Feb. 24 -- Her stage and screen roles have made millions of people laugh, but her entire life, Ellen DeGeneres has held out for one gig: hosting the Oscars.
On Sunday night, she'll get the chance to fulfill her dream.
Hosting the Academy Awards will be one of the biggest challenges of DeGeneres' career, and she's been working overtime to make it happen.
ABC's Robin Roberts sat down with the Oscars' leading lady to find out how she was getting ready for the big night.
DeGeneres is no stranger to the awards-show stage. She hosted the Grammys in 1996 and the Emmys in 2001 and 2005. All the while, she waited for the opportunity to host the biggest show of them all.
"I was hoping for a while they'd ask me. Every year I'd wait. Nope, not me this year. Nope, nope. And I just gave up," DeGeneres said.
At first DeGeneres thought her lack of movie experience would be the reason she wouldn't be allowed to host. But DeGeneres remembered that her idol, Johnny Carson -- a talk show host -- was a veteran of hosting the Academy Awards, so she held out hope.
"Finally they came to me, and I'm excited," DeGeneres told Roberts.
She will be taking a page out of Carson's book on Sunday night.
"The thing about Johnny Carson is that he made everybody feel like they were safe, in good hands. That's sort of what my goal is for Sunday night. I want first of all for people to have a good time," she said.
The Oscars crowd can be hard to please, with public scrutiny on what people are wearing, where they're sitting, whom they're with, and whether they'll take home a prize.
DeGeneres said that her goal was to help settle those nerves.
"Some will be paying attention to me, and some will just be in their head, just you know, freaking out. I will remind them early on that most of them will lose. So that they are not so like: 'Oh, what if I win.' And it's like it's not a surprise when they lose," she said.
DeGeneres says that despite all the jokes she's humbled by the enormity of the experience.
"I don't take this for granted for a second," she told Roberts. "This is the biggest event, you know, probably to date that I've done."
It's not just the stars that will be nervous, though. DeGeneres says that she plans on taking many deep breaths before stepping out on stage.
"And then to myself, I say: 'I don't think they're ready for this jelly.'"
What she's definitely not ready for is the big Oscar question: Who are you wearing?
DeGeneres says she hopes to escape some scrutiny because she won't be on the red carpet.
"If they're screaming at me from the audience, I'm in trouble. 'All right, Mr. Nicholson, I'll tell you.'"
You will see her in Gucci, and some other yet-to-be-named designers.
DeGeneres showed Roberts her shoes, which were labeled, "Handmade for Ellen DeGeneres."
"For some reason people think that I either am gonna wear a tennis shoe or a pump, but there's an in-between," DeGeneres said.
What might be missing from DeGeneres' performance on Sunday night are her signature dance moves, which she opens her show with every day.
"If I dance, it'll be a surprise to me. I'm not planning on it, but there's a DJ during commercial breaks. I'm going to try and dance with Clint Eastwood or Jack Nicholson during the breaks."
Remembering the Victims of Katrina
Roberts, who was recently at Mardi Gras, brought DeGeneres a Zulu coconut from the Zulu parade to thank her for her work on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
DeGeneres, who lived in New Orleans as a teenager and whose grandmother was evacuated from Pass Christian, Miss., during Katrina, has used her television show to publicize the plight of storm victims.
Through regular segments on the rebuilding of New Orleans, she has raised nearly $10 million, and she's interviewed former Presidents Bush and Clinton on the work of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.
"I'm determined like you are," DeGeneres told Roberts. "It's Mississippi and New Orleans. & They need our help. They just need, if nothing else, to know that we don't -- we're not forgetting. So it's always, always in my heart to mention them."
It's DeGeneres' goal, she says, to bring joy. Through her show, to the victims of Katrina, and, hopefully, on Sunday night at the Oscars.
"I want to walk out and make everybody feel real good that night."
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