The Oscars rumor mill is starting early this year, with the Chicago Sun-Times reporting over the weekend that Oprah Winfrey leads the list of potential hosts for the next Academy Awards. The Academy quickly released a statement dismissing the talk as mere gossip and saying "there is nothing for us to comment on." Still, the prospect of Winfrey — who ended her daytime talk show in May after 25 years — heading up the telecast evoked some passionate reactions. Last winter, Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted the show to disastrous effect. Would Winfrey be a better choice?

It would be a win-win situation: The match-up would "make pretty good business sense all around," says Andre Tartar at New York. Winfrey spent 25 years developing a devoted fan base, which should excite Oscar producers still reeling from last year's drop in ratings. As for the woman behind the faltering OWN network, "what better way to ramp up excitement" for her channel that a behind-the-scenes Oscars exclusive? Both parties would benefit.
"Oprah to host Oscars?"

It'd be different kind of show. And that's a good thing: The non-hilarious Winfrey would certainly be a "departure" from the Oscars' typical comedian emcee, says Jenna Goudreau at Forbes. That said, she "would also likely be an improvement" over last year's dreary duo of Hathaway and Franco. And, given OWN's "anemic" ratings, Winfrey would have "every reason to say yes if offered the gig."
"Oprah Winfrey to host the Oscars?"

She may not be the right choice: Winfrey would certainly amp up interest in this year's awards, says Sarah Anne Hughes at The Washington Post. But is that a good thing? It's easy to imagine Winfrey "slipping back into her old [daytime] mind-set," which is hardly the right fit for the Oscar telecast. Can't you already hear her shouting, "'You get an Oscar! And you get an Oscar!' to the whole audience?"
"Oprah to host the Oscars?"