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Whoopi Goldberg Will Host Oscar Ceremony

Movies: It's not been decided whether people can watch stars arrive at the new Kodak Theatre.

January 08, 2002|LORENZA MUNOZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg has been named to host the 74th annual Academy Awards in March.

It is the fourth time that Goldberg has hosted the ceremony--most recently the 1999 show--but the first time for the Oscars at the new Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

"It'll be the first broadcast done from Oscar's new home, and I love a housewarming," Goldberg said in a statement. "And this broadcast, in my opinion, carries a different weight, because it says that we as filmmakers, actors and technicians worldwide will continue to do what we do best and celebrate it. And who wouldn't want to front that?"

The Oscar ceremony will be held March 24.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not decided if the public will be allowed to watch the red carpet arrivals, due to security concerns.

The ballots for nominations are being sent out today, and the nominees will be announced Feb. 12.

Goldberg, who won a best supporting actress Oscar in 1991 for her performance in "Ghost" and a nomination in 1985 for her role as Celie in "The Color Purple," follows Steve Martin as Oscar host; Billy Crystal hosted in 2000. It was the first time for Martin, the seventh for Crystal.

Laura Ziskin, who is producing the Oscar show this year, said Goldberg was chosen for her "great warmth, with humor, humanity and social conscience, all qualities that I feel are essential for this year's show. I look forward to collaborating with Whoopi to put on a meaningful and entertaining evening."

Although she earned Emmy nominations for her performances at the 66th and 68th annual shows, Goldberg was not well received by many critics in 1999. Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker panned that performance as "assiduously self-congratulatory and determinedly lame hosting."

The Academy Awards for 2001 are widely considered to be one of the most wide open Oscar races in years, with no clear favorites and a number of smaller independent films likely to be nominated for major awards.

The Kodak Theatre is part of the new Hollywood & Highland project; last year's show was at the Shrine Auditorium. The show will be broadcast live on ABC.

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