fanning speculation that Ellen DeGeneres, praised in all
quarters for her job of hosting the recent Emmy Awards, is a
major contender to emcee the 2002 Academy Awards. "Ellen did
such a good job at the Emmys--even snaring that rare thing,
a standing ovation from a cynical Hollywood crowd--that it's
inevitable she's now considered a serious candidate," says
Tom O'Neil, host of the awards-watching Web site www.GoldDerby.com. "It doesn't matter
that she's not a movie biz insider. Johnny Carson did an ace
job hosting the Oscars five times." Academy spokesperson
John Pavlik would only say, "At this point, the only sure
thing anybody can say is that until she locks down a host,
[producer Laura Ziskin] won't be ruling anybody out--or in."
As for DeGeneres, her rep says, "I'm sure if she was offered
it, she'd do it in a second."