Ricky Gervais Says He’s Open to Hosting the Oscars

A few days ago, Mark Burnett told Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil that he thought Ricky Gervais would be a perfect Golden Globes crossover candidate for 2014 Oscar show hosting duties. He even went so far as to make his Webcam case directly to Gervais.

That kind of thing is too good an opportunity for most journalists to pass up and, sure enough, this morning O’Neil has an exclusive update. Gervais says he would be completely open to dishing from the Dolby Theatre stage. With one proviso:

“On the one hand I would be incredibly flattered and whatever you think of those sort of things, it would be a thrill and an honor to be asked,” Gervais said. “On the other hand I doubt the job offer would come without some strings attached. The worst string being, handing in my credentials as a comedian in favor of a family entertainer. We have to be able to poke fun at society without favoring any part of it because we are beholden to someone…”

Actually, returning producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan probably would have no problem giving someone like Gervais full comedic freedom. But we’re not so sure about AMPAS following the very divided reactions provoked by unbridled 2013 show host Seth MacFarlane.

We asked O’Neil for his reaction to Gervais’ comments. “This is big Ricky news,” he tells FishbowlLA, “since he’s dodged this Oscar speculation in the past year or two, pooh-poohing the whole possibility. It seemed as if he was war-weary after all of the hubbub surrounding his Golden Globe gigs.”

“While he got praised for his first stint, he got slammed by media for his return engagement,” O’Neil continues. “It looked like he wanted nothing to do with award shows anymore, especially considering the savage treatment of recent hosts like McFarlane. But Ricky is fearless, as we know, and now it looks like he’s ready for the challenge – on the condition that the Oscars will not lay down any conditions. Hmmmm… how will they respond?”

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.